The Ministry of Economy and Finance has announced that privately-owned vehicles bearing police and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) licence plates or other official insignia must pay registration fees as the exemption only applies to vehicles that are registered as state property.
The ministry added that right-hand drive car owners must pay registration fees by June 2022, or the vehicle could be confiscated and destroyed after inspection.
Minister Aun Pornmoniroth issued the letter in August stating that Prime Minister Hun Sen had given the ministry authority to collect taxes on private vehicles with state license plates, except for vehicles belonging to the RCAF and licence plates with military insignia.
“The aim is to increase tax revenue from all types of vehicles, including customs duties and taxes and internal taxes as required by law. In addition, we want to stop the chronic and repetitive problem of illegal right-hand drive vehicles. The Ministry of Economy would like to request that Samdech Techno Prime Minister Hun Sen review the proposals,” the letter said.
In the letter, the prime minister agreed to a five-point proposal.
The proposals include those private left-hand drive vehicles with RCAF licence plates and military insignia on licence plates without registration with the ministry’s General Department of State Property and Non-Tax Revenue not to be penalised one last time by allowing owners to continue paying taxes on all vehicles in 2021.
This taxation does not exempt vehicle owners from paying taxes and duties on importing vehicles in accordance with the law and regulations.
In addition, the General Department of Taxation has prepared a list of the owners of private vehicles with RCAF licence plates and military insignia for the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia to mitigate taxes, especially import taxes.
All ministries and institutions have to strictly enforce the law prohibiting the import and use of right-hand drive vehicles (except under special circumstances). Authorities must not be involved in right-hand drive vehicles. If a person is found to be involved in such a case, they will be punished according to the law.
Existing right-hand drive vehicles were allowed to pay taxes and import duties for one last time. However, right-hand steering wheels have to be changed to left-hand ones according to the Road Traffic Law with a deadline of June 2022. After that, the vehicle will be impound and disassembled or destroyed.
Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia supported the move, saying: “Vehicles with RCAF licence plates and military insignia on licence plates were seen in large numbers. These vehicles seem to be private or family cars. There is no clear solution to this issue yet.”
He added that urging officials who drive private cars to pay taxes was appropriate as it was in line with the law on the management of public property. Private vehicle owners have to pay the same taxes as ordinary citizens.