Cambodia: Survey finds VAT issues as major concern

The Majority of participants in a survey conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) have reported that they experienced issues with regard to Value Added Tax (VAT) that included non-issuance of refunds.

The survey results were released by EuroCham at the Tax Forum it organized with the support of the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, yesterday.

While presenting the highlights of the survey, Antoine Fontaine, EuroCham Tax Committee Co-Chairman, said 52 percent of the respondents cited VAT issues with regard to charges, refunds and audits and that they attributed them to “open interpretation of the Law on Taxation.”

Many reported that VAT refunds had not been issued for various reasons, including “suppliers don’t currently exist in the GDT system.”

“The VAT refund process is too time-consuming. There is an unreasonable holding back of legitimate VAT payments,” said the survey quoting the respondents.

According to the respondents, tax reforms over the past two years have benefitted the business environment, in addition to electronic services that have made tax procedures simpler in many cases. However, respondents still noted taxation as their biggest obstacle to doing business in Cambodia, with concerns revolving around audits and VAT payments/refunds.

Of the respondents of the 2021 Business Confidence Survey, 62 percent said taxation as the biggest obstacle to doing business in Cambodia. Around 51 percent of the respondents found issues with ‘transparency of processes’ and 41 percent cited problems with ‘bureaucratic procedures.’

But 72 percent of the respondents applauded the Covid-19 exemptions provided to the businesses. As many as 42 percent of the respondents reported huge improvement in tax practices over the last two years while 37 percent considered taxation practices transparent.