The general departments of Taxation (GDT) and Customs and Excise (GDCE) on January 18 formally connected their databases in an effort to modernise revenue-collection efficiency, transparency and the ease of doing business, according to a press release from GDT.
Set up in 2018, a joint working group between the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s two departments has been working to streamline the provision of data that can be analysed and used to strengthen the management and collection of revenue from tax and customs in a transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner, GDT said.
The records will better equip the departments to implement government regulations concerning measures that are tailored to best prevent and suppress tax evasion, it said.
“The launch of the data-automation system-integration between the GDT and the GDCE exemplifies the newest advances in capturing the potential and opportunities of technology to strengthen inter-institutional cooperation,” GDT said.
The move will facilitate data sharing between the departments via information technology (IT) systems and ensure the precision of the information in line with the government’s deep reform programmes, it said, listing the Public Financial Management Reform Programme and Revenue Mobilisation Strategy 2019-2023 as examples.
It added: “At the same time, it is an important contribution to the promotion of e-government and the fourth industrial revolution, especially as an effective response to the Ease of Doing Business [jump].
“[It also] promotes equality of investment and responds to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which require social distancing and avoiding gatherings.”
Anthony Galliano, group CEO of financial services firm Cambodia Investment Management Co Ltd, told The Post on January 19 that while the departments fall under the finance ministry and are the nucleus of revenue generation and collection for the country, the perception until recently was that they operated more detached than linked.
He lauded the launch of the online business registration as a milestone achievement for the Kingdom in ministerial interface and another step in the government’s push to connect ministries, and its initiative of relevant data sharing among its departments.
He said: “This data linkage is particularly consequential for tax enforcement and compliance and will be a valuable tool for auditors. It should avail the opportunity to verify and validate terms of importation and exportation of goods, particularly associated tariffs, customs, and duties declared, and if they are reported compliantly and correctly by the taxpayer.
“It also provides a crosscheck between governmental departments, which can only be advantageous in discouraging tax evasion and recalcitrant behaviour within.
“I believe it is another in a series of achievements by the government in promoting compliance and ease of doing business in the Kingdom, which will receive more and more recognition in the global business community.”
GDT said it collected 11.70052 trillion riel ($2.88 billion) in tax revenue last year, up 423.20 billion riel or 3.73 per cent compared to 2019.
Meanwhile, GDCE’s revenue collection plummeted 16.2 per cent to $1.272 billion in the first half of last year from $1.517 billion compared to the corresponding period in 2019.