Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara warned Friday that he would fire any municipal official who attempts to overcharge citizens for their 2002 vehicle taxes.
“There is not a principle allowing us to ask for more money,” he said. “I will gladly listen to any complaint. I will fire them.”
Municipal tax officials began collecting taxes May 15 and will do so until August 15, with the same prices as last year, according to an announcement of the city tax department. Vehicle owners will be fined if they miss the deadline to pay their taxes.
The announcement says owners of one motorcycle are required to pay 3,500 riel to 7,500 riel ($.90 to $1.92), while owners of automobiles are required to pay between 100,000 riel and 750,000 riel ($25.64 to $192.30). Complaints have been lodged in the past that municipal tax officials ask for more money, sometimes from 2,000 riel (about $.50) to 100,000 (about $25) riel extra.
Keo Chhan, director of the Phnom Penh tax department, acknowledged that his officials sometimes ask for extra money from citizens. But, he said, he is powerless to stop them because his employees have small salaries and are desperate.
People said they would appreciate the city’s efforts to charge them only the going rate for taxes.
“If Chea Sophara’s promise works, people would be happy to pay,” a taxi driver said. “This is our duty. But if it is not so, we will be upset again.”