Myanmar: Plans To Increase Special Goods Tax
The Ministry of Planning and Finance, the Office of the Attorney General of Myanmar (OAG) and the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Bill Committee are in deliberations over new draft rules to enact the Special Goods Tax Law.
The Special Goods Tax Law, which was enacted on January 25, 2016, aims to levy taxes on liquor, beer, wine and cigarettes, which are already taxed under the Commercial Tax Law, as well as on natural resource products such as teak and hardwood logs, lumber, jade, rubies, oil, diesel, petroleum and natural gas.
The enactment of the Special Goods Tax Law could increase the country’s tax revenue,” said the deputy minister.
When it comes to taxation legislation, all sides of the issue must be considered, not only that of the government or public,” he said.
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Bill Committee held meetings with the Commission for Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues, with officials from economic operators represented by the Union of Myanmar Federation Chambers of Commerce and Industry and with officials of relevant ministries, said Dr Myat Nyana Soe of the Joint Bill Committee.
The committee found that some provisions should be enacted in accordance with the ministry’s suggestions and that there should be changes to other provisions.
Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Aung Min, who chairs the Pyithu Hluttaw Public Accounts Joint Committee, said taxes being collected in Myanmar are still low compared to other ASEAN countries. When some MPs said that those countries’ per capita income is higher than Myanmar’s, he answered:
How can we develop as a nation if we continue having lower tax rates?”
Myanmar’s tax revenue is low, at about 8.5% of GDP, while in other ASEAN countries, it is about 15%.
Currently, taxes on cigarettes, liquor, beer and wine are collected at fixed rates in Myanmar. For the fiscal year 2016-17, taxes on these items were initially expected to receive K507.2 billion but actually reached K636.3 billion – an increase in more than K129 billion in the second half of fiscal year 2016-17, per Myanmar Times reporting.