Retailers to charge commercial tax

Shops and supermarkets will begin charging a 5 percent consumer tax from the start of next fiscal year, officials said.

The International Revenue Department (IRD) is preparing the ICT systems, ahead of the launch next April 1.

Director U Tun Than from the ICT branch of the Yangon Region Revenue Department, said he has asked the Myanmar Retailers Association (MRA) to choose a supermarket to test out the system at some stage later this year.

The association will choose a shop soon, and has asked the IRD to guarantee the system will be secure, he said, adding that the data will only be used by the department.

“We will cooperate with the MRA as we know that inevitably difficulties will arise,” he said.

An efficient IT system is important to enforce commercial tax payments and help prevent corruption. The current system, which involves fixing tax stickers to receipts, is vulnerable to manipulation.

The IRD will first install systems at the supermarkets and larger retail stores in Yangon before moving to smaller shops and other states and regions, U Tun Than said.

MRA spokesperson U Myo Min Aung said that security is of the utmost importance, as daily income figures will be automatically sent to IRD.

IT systems and online connections are not 100pc reliable, he said, adding that the IRD does not seem prepared.

Last year the department made a mistake and announced an inaccurate list of tax dodgers on their website. At the time, officials admitted the mistake was because they were reliant on a manual system.

“These errors show they need much more preparation,” said U Myo Min Aung.

Late last year the IRD began a program requiring restaurants to buy rolls of stamps, which are stuck to receipts to prove to customers they are paying tax. Customers say not all restaurants follow the policy, with many trying to sneak around the rules, by witholding stickers, for example. Yangon Region deputy director U Myo Min Zaw previously said the department has received complaints that some restaurants are not following the rules.

Last month, Eleven Media reported that 51 businesses had been warned for breaking the tax rules and more than half had already been fined – mostly outlets of international companies.

Source: Myanmar Times

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