The General Department of Taxation (GDT) rode out the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and the downturn in the regional and global economies to reach nearly 95 per cent of its annual revenue collection target as of December 16.

This represents $2.697 billion in tax revenue out of the $2.850 billion target set in the 2020 National Budget Law, GDT director-general Kong Vibol said in a live broadcast on December 17.

“While we faced impact from Covid-19 that has squeezed businesses, the revenue that we’ve collected is the result of sound business in 2019.

“The business owners who earned tidy sums in 2019 declared them in their tax returns in 2020. And I’ve kept tabs on the trend in revenue each month – we are still doing well. This translates into high revenues for us this year.

“As one can see, despite the impact from Covid-19 and an economic slowdown, we were still able to achieve 94.63 per cent of the goal for the year. I’m confident that we’ll meet the target by the end of the year,” Vibol said.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Meas Soksensan echoed Vibol’s comments on the level of performance seen in tax revenue this year amid pandemic-marred economic incertitude.

He said: “There’s not much concern over tax collection revenue this year. As I’ve seen, revenue collection is far better than anticipated due to improvements in more sectors.”

GDT’s Vibol said the 2021 Implementation Plan will downgrade the target to $2.271 billion for 2021 due to the business performance slump logged this year, most notably by the tourism sector.

But he pointed out that other sectors such as transport and non-garments have been performing relatively well.

Vibol said businesses that report losses in 2020 could jeopardise tax revenue collection for the next three to five years.

“That’s why the 2021 Implementation Plan is lower than it was in 2020. We’ll surely hit a few bumps in the road on revenue collection next year.

“With the businesses based at main tourism destinations experiencing devastation, the tourism sector dropped nearly 95 per cent. But we still hold on to hope that we can manage the situation and will realise the $2.271 billion revenue collection plan in 2021,” Vibol said.

In 2019, the GDT collected $2.819 billion in tax revenue, exceeding the annual target by $530 million or 23.20 per cent. This was 28.28 per cent higher than the $2.197 billion posted in 2018.