Print property tax bills to close loopholes: GDT

The General Tax Department (GDT) has announced that it will print hard copies of the property tax bill for distribution to all property owners in a manner similar to utility bills, which it hopes , will eliminate most loopholes allowing tax evasion.

GDT Director General Kong Vibol unveiled the new distribution strategy at a ceremony on April 26 alongside Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Khuong Sreng.

Since the modernization of the tax system in 2012, tax collection by the GDT has “increased steadily” and even exceeded the targets set by the annual Financial Management Acts – including, even in 2021, the peak of the epidemic of Covid-19, Vibol mentioned.

He noted that the increase in tax revenue was “not accidental”, but rather the result of the targeted introduction of “active and proactive” tax collection processes, the key to which included the implementation of IT systems. . He said these systems play a crucial role in the efficient management of tax collection, including making it easier for taxpayers to file and pay taxes and, therefore, making it more difficult for them to evade.

At the ceremony, Vibol asked Sreng for help from the Phnom Penh municipal administration, which he heads, in distributing paper invoices to landlords.

Vibol said a number of issues have plagued the department in collecting this category of tax, such as taxpayers providing addresses that do not appear on maps, duplication of street and house numbers and obsolete addresses as a result of the Kandal redesign. – Phnom Penh border.

“We advise units under the GDT to prepare property tax bills and distribute them to all landlords, just like water and electricity bills,” he said.

City Governor Sreng expressed his willingness to help administer what he called “public administration and financial reform”.

“I would like to advise the administration under Phnom Penh City Hall, including district administrations and professional officers, to continue to support and cooperate fully with the GDT in its tax collection mission,” he said. he declares.

Global Real Estate Association President Sam Soknoeun said the GDT’s strategy of handing out annual property tax bills helps the state control the flow of buying, selling and transferring property, while being a source of increased tax revenue for the country.

“This [method of] the distribution of property bills to landlords is very good” because it is standardized, which makes it difficult for them to claim ignorance, he said. “In the past, some owners understood this tax obligation, while some said they didn’t care, and some didn’t even know it at all.”

“Currently, some landlords think that the payment of property tax only takes place when there is a transaction…or a transfer of ownership,” he added.

However, Soknoeun urged the GDT to explain and disseminate more widely the method by which it calculates annual property tax values, saying the lack of clarity as well as procedural inefficiency on the part of officials has led to cases of individuals inadvertently filing their taxes incorrectly. or late, and to be fined accordingly.

“Some landlords are really willing to pay taxes, but the attitude of officials and the tax procedures … have left landlords uninformed and not paying taxes at all,” he said.

Meas Vichet, owner of a house in the Sen Sok district of Phnom Penh, said the value of her property meant she was not subject to tax. Nevertheless, he still brings his documents to the district tax office every year for verification, because he fears possible penalties if not.

“Paying taxes is compulsory, so I always bring my property documents to the district tax office every August and September, so as not to be penalized,” he said.

In 2021, tax revenue collected by the GDT was $2.782 billion, or 124.02% of the requirement stipulated in the Financial Management Act for the year.