Tax Revenue Up 48% in First Quarter

The government collected a total of $323.42 million in taxes during the first quarter of this year, a 48 percent increase on the same period last year, the Finance Ministry’s general department of taxation said in a report released Monday.

“Compared to the same period in 2014, in the first quarter of 2015, we have seen that there are increases in tax revenue from some key types of taxes including profit tax, salary tax, value-added tax and special tax,” Kong Vibol, director-general of the taxation department, said in the report.

The report did not provide a tax revenue figure for the first quarter of 2014 and Finance Ministry officials could not be reached.

Tax revenue at the national level in the first three months of this year totaled $280.85 million, while $42.57 million was collected from sub-national level, according to the report.

“Tax revenue has increased in most business activities,” the report says, with tax revenues from vehicle production growing 177 percent, taxes from tobacco production increasing by 108.9 percent and machinery production by 72.3 percent.

Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth said in the report that his ministry would continue with reforms geared toward more efficient tax collection.

“To collect tax revenue as determined by law, the general department of taxation will continue to strictly implement the reform policies of the royal government such as by strengthening tax registration with new systems and by updating businesses’ information registered by the taxation department into its database,” the finance minister is quoted as saying.

San Chey, a fellow with the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia, a regional body that promotes transparency in government, said the increased revenue was a positive sign.

“However, I still have doubts about the ability of the tax officials to collect taxes from big business owners and powerful people,” he added.

“For example…I have heard tax officials complain that it is very difficult for them to collect property tax from properties that are owned by powerful people because they do not want to show information about their finances.”

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