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$65M in tax collected from 7K unregistered vehicles

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General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) director-general Kun Nhem (centre) speaks to reporters on Wednesday. GDCE

$65M in tax collected from 7K unregistered vehicles

The General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) has earned a tax revenue of about $65 million from 7,000 unregistered vehicles or those with fake number plates between September last year and May 3, 2022.

Speaking to reporters, GDCE director-general Kun Nhem said out of 7,000 vehicles, 4,690 are right-hand drive vehicles which paid their taxes amounting $46 million.

He added that 2,358 left-hand drive vehicles have been converted from right-hand drive while 2,232 vehicles, with $13 million tax collected, are undergoing conversion.

Beginning January 1, 2022, GDCE resumed its crackdown on vehicles which did not pay import duties and other fees.

“We took action on 178 vehicles for not paying their import duties, including seven right-hand drive vehicles. Following the crackdown, vehicle owners are required to pay the tax and fines, which should amount to $4 million.

“Only 31 owners have come to settle the amount, which came up to $650,000,” he said, adding that more than 3,000 vehicle owners have yet to pay the tax.

Meanwhile, beginning July 1, 2022, GDCE will no longer collect taxes at its office as imported cars will be taxed at the border.

The main duty of GDCE is to crack down on vehicles that failed to declare import duties, as they were allegedly smuggled into the country.

In addition, left-hand drive vehicles that pay taxes after June 30 are also required to pay the fine, Kun Nhem said.

Hong Vanak, International Economics Department director at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the collection of customs duties, especially vehicle tax, has helped to raise funds for the state, which is the largest source of customs revenue.

“Vehicle owners should be vigilant in fulfilling their civic duties. Considering that 3,000 vehicles have not been taxed is a significant amount of money. It means that the state is losing a large amount of revenue.

“The loss of revenue from customs could jeopardise the recovery of the economy,” he remarked.

According to GDCE, tax collection dipped 2.5 per cent year-on-year to $597.6 million in the first three months of 2022. Of that, tax revenue from vehicles and machinery amounted to more than $255 million.

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