Despite a more than 19 per cent year-on-year dip in revenues in the first half, the General Department of Taxation’s (GDT) revenues are still predicted to surpass targets by approximately five per cent, announced GDT chief Kong Vibol.

In a recent press release accompanying a meeting to assess the GDT’s first-half revenue collection in 2023 and further strategies, Vibol revealed an optimistic outlook.

Considering the tax revenue status for the initial six months of 2023, Vibol expects that revenues will surpass the nearly $3.5 billion target set for this year, as defined in the 2023 Law on Financial Management.

The GDT chief explained that the department had amassed more than $2 billion in the first half of 2023. This sum equals over 58 per cent of the target set in the 2023 financial management law.

“Some key sectors have seen a decrease in revenue in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. For instance, beverage manufacturing dropped by 12.89 per cent, the real estate sector fell by 3.88 per cent, and the stamp duty on real estate transfers shrunk by 26.83 per cent. However, despite these reductions, we anticipate that tax revenue in 2023 will reach around 105 per cent of the target,” said Vibol.

To boost the efficiency of tax revenue collection, he stressed the need for the GDT to maintain transparency in tax management.

Equal footing in sectors such as beverage production and cigarette and tobacco products is essential to ensure tax revenue sustainability, a vital asset to the national budget.

“The GDT will persist in enforcing tax liability measures for enterprises that owe tax debts and fail to pay or settle them properly.

“Specifically, we’ll continue to strengthen tax registration, update enterprise information, and collaborate to enhance the registration of enterprises on the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX) platform, making it more effective and comprehensive,” Vibol outlined.

Ky Sereyvath, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), acknowledged that the current global crisis could impact economic activities, investments and production chains.

“Tax revenue is crucial for any country, not just Cambodia. A smooth economic activity facilitates internal tax revenue collection, leading to a corresponding increase, especially in the domestic production chain,” he noted.

“We’ve seen major sectors like beverages and real estate decline in the first half. Yet, in these challenging times, it would still be commendable if tax collection exceeds the plan, regardless of the amount,” Sereyvath added.

According to Vibol, the GDT’s goal is to amass over $3.5 billion in tax revenue in 2023, an increase of more than 26 per cent compared to last year. It aims to gather over $4 billion in tax revenue in 2024.