The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Taxation (GDT) collected $1.51590 billion in taxes in the first half of 2021, down 10.60 per cent from the same period last year.
This represents 67.58 per cent of the $2.24307 billion target set by the Law on Financial Management for 2021, the GDT said in a press release.
Last month alone, taxes collected through the online revenue management system amounted to $167.61 million, or 7.47 per cent of the target, it said.
The department added that it collected $74.32 million in taxes in the first 20 days of this month.
GDT director-general Kong Vibol said in a statement that the prolongation of the Covid-19 pandemic, made worse by the third coronavirus outbreak – dubbed the “February 20 community event” marking the date it was first detected, has had a negative impact on tax revenue collection management.
However, Vibol said the introduction of a number of measures, online services and information technology (IT) systems has been proactive and responded well to the challenges and difficulties surrounding Covid-19, reflected in the percentage of target revenue achieved.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the leaders and tax officials at all levels of the General Department of Taxation, who have been actively involved in efforts to raise revenue, with excellent results. This is a success and a collective achievement,” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng noted that the senior government leadership has put a number of measures in place to reduce the burden on Covid-stricken sectors and undergird their resilience.
He told The Post that tax exemptions and other breaks in areas such as tourism and garments hardest hit by the pandemic partially led to the decline in revenue collection during this period.
“We are very concerned that if Covid-19 persists for a long time, it’d affect the revenue to our national budget.
“I hope that the vaccination strategy against the coronavirus in downtown [Phnom Penh] and in other towns and provinces will help prevent and reduce the spread of Covid-19, so that various sectors are able to resume operations.
“I believe that when these areas pick back up, tax revenue will return to normal,” Heng said.
To meet the 2021 target, the GDT says it will continue to optimise the performance of fiscal administration practices, policies and other measures, with a sharp focus on the use of IT systems to manage tax revenue collection.
It said it collected 11.70052 trillion riel ($2.87 billion) in tax revenue last year, up 423.20 billion riel or 3.73 per cent compared to 2019.