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Hun Sen calls on officials to update property tax scheme

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Green and blue mesh cover buildings under construction in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Hun Sen calls on officials to update property tax scheme

Caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday called on officials from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to re-examine the duties on property transfers, saying the current fee system is outdated as it is three years old.

Speaking before more than 15,000 workers in the capital’s Sen Sok district, Hun Sen claimed that political stability and economic growth have resulted in an increase in the price of land.

He said since land prices were now higher, taxes should be higher for buying property as well.

“The ministry is taking stamp duty fees as a tax on land prices, which were set three to four years ago,” he said, adding that the property market had changed drastically in the meantime.

$200 up to $1,000

He said a plot of land that had been $200 per square metre back then was now worth as much as $1,000 per square metre.'

General Department of Taxation (GDT) director-general Kong Vibol did not answer phone calls made on Wednesday.

According to the GDT’s website, the stamp duty fee is set at four per cent for transfers of property or transfers of unoccupied land titles without any construction under the form of sales, exchanges, receipt of donations, and company shares.

Khmer Foundation Appraisals president and CEO Noun Rithy welcomed Hun Sen’s call, saying that the ministry should revise the fee structure to follow current property prices.

“It’s good that the pricing of stamp duties should be revised because what is being used every day does not match current market values,” he said.

According to Rithy, fees are determined by zone via ministry officials. “Updating the price will help the state to gain higher revenue for national development,” he said.

In the first seven months of this year, the GDT collected tax revenues of more than $1.3 billion – up 15.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.

A Ministry of Land Management report said that last year they took in around $78 million from stamp duty fees.

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