The Finance Ministry has warned real estate companies they will be shut down if they do not obtain business licenses by the end of October, a Finance Ministry official said Thursday.
“The ministry will close them if they do not come and get their business licenses in the next month,” said Mey Vann, director of financial industry for the Finance Ministry.
Advertisements have been taken out in local newspapers since Oct 1, warning the realtors to acquire the license—which a ministry official, who asked not to be named, said costs $200 per year.
Mey Vann said his ministry wants real estate firms to become more professional.
“At the moment, this industry is playing without any rules,” he said, adding that since the advertisement campaign began, only three companies have come to get licenses outside of the 10 already recognized by the ministry.
Sung Bonna, general manager of the Bonna Realty Group said the real reason for the license was to lay the groundwork for a new tax on property transactions.
A second Finance Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a draft law introducing the tax is currently being prepared.
Yim Sophea, marketing manager for Phnom Penh Real Estate Company, said his company would not pay for a license from the Finance Ministry, because it had already paid for a license from the Commerce Ministry.
Yim Sophea added that his company already pays between $200 to $500 per month in taxes to the Finance Ministry.
“Why should we have to pay more money?” he asked.
Not all realtors were antagonistic to the license, however.
Hay Seang Hor, an administrator for Royal National Realty, said that his company is already preparing the paperwork to obtain the license.
“Being a legal business helps us to gain more trust from our clients,” he said.