Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tax Revenues Begin to Flow After Govt Warning

Tax Revenues Begin to Flow After Govt Warning

Tax Revenues Begin to Flow After Govt Warning

Tax revenues for July showed a three-fold increase over June following tough government

warnings that it would crackdown on tax evaders.

The Phnom Penh city Tax Department collected an estimated 60 percent of its target

amount, up from only 20 per cent in June.

Government-run radio and television has began broadcasting appeals to members of

the public to settle their tax arrears or face severe penalties.

Chan Soeun, director of the Phnom Penh Tax Department, said that a lot of people

had been waiting to see what kind of government would be formed after the May 23-28

election before they paid their taxes. He said the former State of Cambodia administration

had not enforced tax collection in its last months in power for fear of upsetting

the electorate.

Chan warned the new government would strictly enforce the tax code and appealed for

understanding at the same time. The cash-strapped administration desperately needed

new funds to rebuild the country after more than 20 years of war, he said

For 1993, the city administration is authorized to raise 170,000,000 riels in taxes,

which forms about 30 percent of the government's annual income.

The government also plans to crack down on illegal imports, especially of cars, motor-cycles,

cigarettes and alcohol. According to the Customs House, 300-600 cars and thousands

of motor-bikes have been smuggled into the country from Thailand each year since

1990.

Police estimate thousands of the cars on Phnom Penh's streets do not carry official

license plates or have proper registration meaning a further loss of revenue.

Customs officials on the Thai and Vietnamese borders have been ordered to curtail

the flourishing black market trade, which by some estimates accounts for almost half

of all business done in Cambodia.

Sor Ho, the director of the Customs House, said his officers face difficulties dealing

with large-scale, well-armed smuggling operations which can exploit Cambodia's long

unmarked borders.

"How can we control a hundred of entrances along the land and sea border,"

he said.

However, Chandy, a businessman from Koh Kong, said that it would not be easy for

smugglers to bring their goods onto the Phnom Penh market without bribing customs

officials and police.

"It is impossible that the smugglers could pass several check points from the

border to Phnom Penh. Bribes have been given to them for closing their eyes. Chandy

complained that of all the government employees, only the customs officers and police

check border points can earn quick money from smugglers.

The government policy divides tax collection into two categories-imported tax and

annual tax, which includes tariffs on rental accommodation, real estate, land, transportation,

business, manufacturing, services. The taxes range from four to 12 percent.

The government's determination to collect taxes has angered many of the people who

voted for it.

"We voted for the new government because we thought they would make life better

for us, but it seems to be worse for the poor," said Seath, a 38-year-old motor

taxi driver.

"A large percentage of the people who voted for them are poor but we have only

received much trouble. I have to pay a motor-bike tax, house tax, and my wife was

forced to remove here street-side stall," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on