Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mandalay tax revenues smash targets

Mandalay is swimming in tax money, delighted finance officials have announced, with internal revenue for this financial year exceeding the target figure.

Tax for the 28 townships in Mandalay Region, not including Nay Pyi Taw, for the 2015-16 financial year exceeds K123 billion, well above the Internal Revenue Department’s K115 billion target.

With one day of the current financial year to go, the regional finance department says its biggest earner for the past year has been income tax. The department also collects commercial tax, stamp duty and tax on the state-run Aung Bar Lay lottery.

“I want people to know that the taxes raised from the people are being spent on the people. Our revenue exceeds the estimate because people are willing to pay tax. Myitthar township in our region has no tax debt,” U Kyaw Aung Moe, assistant director of the internal revenue department, told The Myanmar Times.

Receipts have exceeded targets in two of the four taxes levied by the regional government. Stamp duty, targeted at K9.7 billion, brought in almost three times as much – K26.5 billion – while lottery tax, estimated at K1.319 billion, came in at K1.336 billion.

Commercial tax fell below the target of K39.3 billion, bringing in K36.3 billion as of March 28 and income tax revenue is K59.6 billion, less than the K64.9 billion goal.

This is the second year running that Mandalay Region has shown a tax “profit”. The expected revenue for 2014-15 was K51.897 billion and actual revenue was K82.037 billion, 58 percent higher than expected, according to the Internal Revenue Department.

Another source of income is fines from non-compliant businesses. Starting in May last year, the revenue department instructed the region’s more than 500 hotels and 2000 restaurants to stick tax stamps on customers’ receipts. Last July inspectors began enforcing the edict, said U Kyaw Aung Moe.

They collected more than K3.4 million in fines from seven hotels and 142 restaurants that had failed to pay tax, he said.

“The fines rise with repeated cases of non-compliance,” he said, starting at K200,000 for a first offence and rising to K1 million if a company has failed to comply four times.

One Pyigyitagun township resident said, “Citizens pay tax to help the country develop. Most people understand that tax income is spent on the people.”

He noted that from next month, people will have to pay 5pc tax on phone bills.

“The government needs to be sure that people can really pay the tax. People can suffer if taxes are too high. On the other hand, I want to see them take action against tax dodgers.”

Translation by Thiri Min Htun