At ‘Tax Forum 2023’, His Excellency Kong Vibol, Director-General of the General Department of Taxation (GDT), spoke with the press about several key tax-related subjects, including Cambodia’s new Law on Taxation (LoT), stock market tax relief, and the establishment of more double tax agreements (DTAs).
The Tax Forum 2023 event was organised by the Malaysian Business Chamber of Cambodia (MBCC) with the support of the GDT and took place on September 6, 2023, at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra.
Watch B2B Cambodia’s interview with H.E. Kong Vibol at Tax Forum 2023:
H.E. Kong Vibol stated that Cambodia’s tax revenue collection has consistently grown by around 20 to 25 per cent each year, surpassing the country’s planned targets over the past decade. Despite fluctuations in Cambodia’s economic growth, tax revenue has continued to increase.
The GDT Director-General attributed Cambodia’s increasing revenue collection to the beverage industry, followed by telecom and tourism. While the COVID-19 pandemic posed many challenges, Vibol expressed optimism about the recovery of the tourism sector and reiterated the government’s commitment to good governance, modernisation of law, and the promotion of a culture of tax compliance.
He shared that as of September 2023, the total tax collected still accounted for less than 50 per cent of the expected annual amount, however, he anticipates a significant increase in tax payments to take place by November 2023.
New Cambodian Law On Taxation
Vibol explained that the new LoT serves as a national foundation for tax collection and consolidates various existing tax laws, including the 1997 LoT and sub-decrees from 1982 and 1985. He added that the primary aim of the 2023 LoT is to provide business owners with better clarity and understanding of tax regulations.
He also shared that the new LoT has been receiving good feedback from the business community, especially regarding its enhanced transparency.
“I think they are happy with the new law, […] this law will [help increase transparency] because some of the laws [are hard to find],” he said. [But now, they] will all be [consolidated] in one place, [making it] easy to understand and easy for people to implement, even our tax officials.”
He said the GDT is now focusing on implementation, as well as the development of new Prakas and sub-decrees.
Tax Relief for Local Stock Market Investors
The GDT Director-General stressed that the Cambodian government has been very ‘generous’ in providing tax relief for investors in the local stock market, especially when compared to other countries in the region and across the world.
“We are the most favourable in terms of encouraging investment in the stock market, so I think [people] should invest more…” said Vibol.
He added that those who list on the Cambodian stock market will also be provided with the same tax break highlighted in the 2015 Sub-Decree on Tax Incentive in the Securities Sector. Companies going public can enjoy a 50 per cent corporate tax income over a period of three years after listing on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX).
Upcoming Plans of the New Government
Vibol affirmed that the new government will not further burden the business community and will continue to implement the existing policies of the previous government while working towards further improving the business environment.
He added that the new government will continue to uphold the tax breaks and incentives defined in the 2023 LoT, aligned with the recent law on investment.
Establishing More Double Tax Agreements
The GDT Director-General shared that Cambodia is currently negotiating the establishment of more DTAs with countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia, and ASEAN member states.
“We will be [establishing] more and more, but we have our principles,” he said. “Don’t ask for more withholding tax, or don’t ask for more tax breaks than [those which already exist], because we have our principles. Otherwise, the countries that we have already signed with will come and change our DTAs.”
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