Cambodia eyes more revenues from customs, excise taxes

Cambodia is looking at raising its revenue target by over 20 percent next year, with the boost expected to come from higher customs and excise tax collections.

The government said on Tuesday it is targeting to hit a 28.1-percent increase in revenue collection next year, or a total of $2.87 billion in 2020. The figure is expected to account for 17.72 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Revenue from tax collection would rise to $2.33 billion, or by 21.3 percent, accounting for 7.93 percent of the country’s GDP.

Speaking at the National Assembly on the same day, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said that the government would need to raise funds to sustain the robust economy and boost domestic revenues.

Pornmoniroth said that there is no need to raise existing tax rates or impose new taxes to achieve the target.

“The government has achieved good results in public financial management with the sound, sustainable and efficient collection of all types of taxes,” he said.

“This proves the strength of the Cambodian economy, despite the global economy facing greater risks than before. Higher revenue collection helps strengthen Cambodia’s budget independence, and gives the government greater control,” he added.

In a report released in October, General Department of Taxation (GDT) director-general Kong Vibol said that key driver of revenue growth over the past few years was the government’s efforts in the implementation of the Rectangular Strategy and Revenue Mobilization Strategy that focuses on strengthening fiscal administration reform.

Vibol said such measures include the modernization of the tax administration’s core functions and support of the GDT, such as the introduction of the e-VAT system.

Cambodia, he said, is also strengthening tax administration, adopting information technology to prepare audits and promote a tax culture among taxpayers.

For its part, the International Monetary Fund said it sees Cambodia’s robust revenue performance continued on the back of the government’s administrative efforts including tax revenues nearing 19 percent of the GDP last year.

“Looking ahead, strong implementation of the authorities’ new Revenue Mobilisation Strategy 2019-23 should help sustain revenue growth through tax policy and revenue administration reforms,” the IMF said.