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July 24, 2007

Govt introduces new measure to prevent tax evasion
Myanmar has introduced a new measure to prevent private companies' tax evasion by denying the biennial renewal of their business licenses on failure to fully settle their outstanding tax payment annually, the local journal Newsweek reported July 24.

The measure was so taken as the government gained only US$56 million from tax revenue in the fiscal year 2006-07 which ended in March against the projected US$300 million, the report said, blaming that 60% of the country's business companies evaded paying tax.

The authorities have stressed the need for collecting tax to be spent on building infrastructures such as road and bridge and other development tasks, urging the companies to fulfill the need of the state.

Statistics show that there are more than 20,000 private companies in Myanmar registering with the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development and are categorized as local- national-owned, foreigners-owned, Myanmar-foreign joint venture, foreign branch companies and import-export companies.

The authorities also blamed some of the companies for delaying their tax payment for years or total tax evasion.

There are five categories of tax collected by the government, namely commercial and service tax, income tax, profit tax, tax for sale of state lottery and stamps.

The figures indicate that the country gained a total of 447.964 billion Kyats (about US$373 million) in revenue in 2005-06, a significant increase over the previous years but much lower than targeted, other local media said.

The ministry attributed the lower figures to tax evasion, blaming some companies and individuals for presenting false data about their income for taxation assessment as well as the government's ineffective measures in collecting tax from companies, service providers, restaurants, supermarkets or individuals for the past decade.

However, the finance authorities held that the recent amendments to income and commercial tax laws would not affect the tax rate levied by the government but would ensure that tax collection policy will be more effective and widespread. Xinhua

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