Myanmar Government: More Than 10,000 Local Business Evaded Taxes In 2012-2013

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A girl plays a game as she sits by her mother's betel shop in Yangon, Myanmar, November 18, 2013.

More than 10,000 businesses in Myanmar owe the government taxes from just the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to the Burmese Internal Revenue Department.

The government released a notice on its website last Thursday listing the 10,670 local companies that have yet to pay their 2012-2013 taxes, and ordering them to contact the IRD by March 20, as the fiscal year ended in March 2013 and their taxes are a year overdue, the Irrawaddy reported.

But the IRD may never get the money, because it’s unclear whether these companies are still in business, said Tin Htun Oo, director of the department. Many of the companies failed to pay their taxes in previous years as well.

“Most companies have had no connection with our department for four or five years, so we want to know clearly which companies have stopped their businesses, and also which companies are newly founded and have not started operating yet,” Tin Htun Oo said. “Companies that do not contact the department by March 20 will be considered abolished.”

As the civilian government that took over in 2011 tries to move forward politically and economically, it desperately needs funds from taxes to operate, Tin Htun Oo added, according to the Irrawaddy.

The business sector in Myanmar remains poorly regulated, and as the list of companies shows, evading taxes is not difficult. A separate list of 100 companies that paid the most in commercial and income taxes for the 2012-2013 year showed that some companies are flourishing despite paying their due. Tobacco and alcohol concerns, along with a range of companies in mining, tourism and banking, were among the biggest taxpayers, contributing to the country’s budding economy. 

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