Tax Revenue up 9.5 Percent in First Quarter

Tax revenue increased 9.5 percent to $353.46 million in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year, according to a statement released Friday by the Ministry of Finance’s general department of taxation.

Kong Vibol, general director of the taxation department, said the increase was due to diligent work by officials at all levels of the department, according to the statement.

“[Mr. Vibol]…encouraged tax official representatives nationwide to try their best and overcome all difficult and challenging issues, implementing all types of tax collection to meet the goal set up in the law on financial management,” it says.

Mr. Vibol declined to comment when reached by phone Sunday.

Beginning late last year, the Fi­nance Ministry’s customs de­partment began properly implementing taxes on imported goods, a move meant to increase state rev­enue that caused a rise in the price of many commodities.

The statement showed that the general department of taxation generated $144.2 million in tax revenue in April, an increase of 69.4 percent compared to March.

The report said that tax generated from architecture and construction grew by 65.6 percent, while tax on food increased by 95.2 percent. Tax on clothes production grew by 52.6 percent and tobacco grew by 30.7 percent. Taxes on transport and tourism were up 10.5 percent, port and airport tax rose 20 percent and taxes paid by and hotels and guesthouses increased 34.5 percent.

The government generated almost $881.4 million in tax revenue in 2013, an increase of 16.1 percent on 2012.

San Chey, a fellow with the Af­filiated Network for Social Ac­count­ability in East Asia, a regional body that supports transparency in government, said the Fi­nance Ministry can do much more to increase revenue.

“Their expectations remain low,” he said. “There will [be] some irregularities behind the tax collection process if the expected tax revenue is still this low.”

He said the lack of updated data regarding the people and businesses that must pay tax is a loophole that should be closed to strengthen tax collection efficiency.

“Actually, what they got is not a success,” Mr. San said. “The ex­pectation of tax revenue should be made in line with a consistently updated list of people who are obliged to pay tax.”

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