Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tax chief weighs in on huge Cambodia Daily bill

Tax chief weighs in on huge Cambodia Daily bill

Tax Department head Kong Vibol speaks at a meeting last year in Phnom Penh.
Tax Department head Kong Vibol speaks at a meeting last year in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Tax chief weighs in on huge Cambodia Daily bill

The head of the General Department of Taxation yesterday said the Cambodia Daily would have its licence suspended and its accounts frozen if it failed to pay or to formally dispute a $6 million tax bill by early next month.

The comments by Kong Vibol, made to government-aligned local outlet Fresh News, were yesterday backed up by a spokesman from the department, who rejected any suggestion of an agenda other than enforcing the law.

A leaked letter from the Tax Department to the company that owns the Daily, released on Friday, said it owes $2.39 million in back tax, almost $1 million in “additional tax” and almost $3 million in interest.

The release of the document – initially uploaded by the Facebook account of an opposition lawmaker, which he said was hacked – followed orders by Prime Minister Hun Sen for several ministries to probe the tax compliance of NGOs.

“The Cambodia Daily has 30 days to respond by submitting a complaint letter. If the newspaper does not submit a complaint letter it means they accept the re-audit to pay tax,” Vibol told Fresh News.

“If the company does not pay the debt, we will take taxation action like suspending its licence, freezing the company’s account and suspending its exports and imports.”

Tax Department spokesman Ream Ratha said other companies and groups had also received audit letters, though he declined to name them. He said the $6 million figure was “based on documents” but declined to elaborate further.

“We only practise the law,” Ratha said.

Clint O’Connell, the head of tax practice for DFDL Cambodia, said not-for-profit entities and organisations generally have been required to register for taxation for at least the last decade.

“It’s a misconception that you can be a non-for-profit but not register for tax,” he said.

Though certain tax exemptions are provided for under the law, he said they were only granted after registering and through a formal application process to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

These could include waiving taxes on profits and value added tax for those who qualify, he said.

The Daily’s owner, Deborah Krisher-Steele, said on Monday the paper was started as a “non-profit project” but was quoted by the newspaper yesterday saying that this did not mean that it was an NGO.

According to Krisher-Steele, it was registered as a business in April this year. She declined to discuss specifics yesterday until the matter was settled with the Tax Department.

“I intend to fully cooperate with their inquiries and plan to respond to them directly in a normal professional manner and channel,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180