The General Department of Taxation (GDT) announced that it collected $2.69338 billion in tax revenues in the first nine months, equivalent to 95.53 per cent of the full-year target for 2022. This leaves just three months to reach the prescribed 11.419 trillion riel ($2.820 billion).

This represents an increase of $580.51 million, or 27.5 per cent, over the corresponding figure for the first nine months of 2021, or $2.1129 billion, which was equal to 94.2 per cent of the $2.24307 billion full-year goal set in the annual Law on Financial Management for that year, according to apparently-readjusted GDT statistics. The department previously cited $2.11109 billion for January-September 2021.

In September alone, tax revenues reached $254.06 million – equivalent to 9.01 per cent of the full-year target – which was up by $52.40 million or 25.98 per cent over the nearly $201.7 million logged in September 2021.

The latest figures were revealed in a GDT statement issued in conjunction with an October 11 meeting held at the department and chaired by director-general Kong Vibol.

Vibol attributed the sustained uptrend in Cambodian tax revenues to in-depth reforms, the introduction of a range of supporting technologies and methods, human resource improvements and taxpayer involvement, according to the statement.

“The GDT has been implementing a proactive suite of sweeping in-depth reforms to modernise taxation since 2014, in line with key government policies and strategies.

“As a result … [the department] has built a foundation for its operations that aligns with the Good Governance and Good Administration principles at the core of the Royal Government’s rectangular strategy. This solid groundwork is the reason why the [GDT] has been able to successfully manage tax revenue collection, even in difficult circumstances,” he said.

Vibol called on business to properly register, particularly those seeking partnerships, and especially those looking to supply goods or services to big enterprises.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, similarly credited the constant rise in the GDT’s revenues – save for the 2020-2021 Covid-19 era – to sweeping reforms and the incorporation of comparatively advanced technologies and innovative methods into tax administration.

Barring extraordinary circumstances, the growing number of investments in Cambodia will keep driving up tax revenues, he said. “As the country grows and law enforcement improves, tax revenues will unquestionably increase. Continued refinements are also necessary to get people to pay their taxes.”

Vanak predicted that GDT revenues would rise even further next year, especially after the government dials back at least some of the tax breaks prompted by Covid-19 – especially the tourism, real estate, and other sector-specific levy exemptions – once recovery in the respective field is determined to be firmly rooted.

On September 28, Vibol disclosed that the GDT expects to collect from 110-115 per cent of the full-year target for 2022 by end-December. Accounting for rounding, this range can be represented as $3.087-3.258 billion. For reference, the GDT said it collected $2.78192 billion in revenue in 2021, or 124.02 per cent of the full-year target.