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Myanmar Extends Tax Deadline Until End of Year to Aid COVID-Hit Businesses

YANGON—The Myanmar government has again extended the tax payment deadline, giving pandemic-hit businesses across the country until the end of December to make payments as they grapple with the impact of a second wave of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI) announced on Monday that the government had eased the deadlines for paying quarterly income tax and monthly commercial tax for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as CMP (garment and textiles), and hotel and tourism businesses, for the current fiscal year (2019-20).

Income tax payments that were originally supposed to be paid by March 31 for the second quarter, June 30 for the third quarter and Sept. 30 for the fourth quarter can now be made through Dec. 31.

The monthly commercial tax for the period from March to November in the current fiscal year can also be paid by Dec. 31, the government said.

It said the latest move aimed “to boost the morale of the general public amid the COVID-19 crisis.”

In late March, the government pushed back the income tax deadlines for both the second and third quarters, as well as the monthly commercial tax deadlines, to Sept.30, as a part of its stimulus package to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy.

Since late March, Myanmar’s economy has slowed significantly due to COVID-19, with the CMP, hotel and tourism, and SME sectors hit the hardest due to pandemic-related restrictions.

The government recognized those businesses as priorities for state assistance based on their vulnerability to COVID-19. In March, it created a 100-billion-kyat (about US$75 million) COVID-19 relief loan program for those businesses, charging only 1 percent interest on a loan period of one year. Under its COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan, the government promised that the fund size would increase to 200-500 billion kyats, depending on the market response, by the end of 2020.

In June, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population (MOLIP) said a total of 5,658 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and 270 large factories, shops and restaurants had closed due to COVID-19, leaving more than 140,000 people jobless.

Last week, the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) told The Irrawaddy that garment factories are struggling to survive following a decline in orders from the European Union (EU), the sector’s major market.

According to the MGMA, manufacturers have received just 20 to 25 percent of the orders they saw in 2019, and many factories are already planning to reduce their workforces and temporarily or permanently close.

On Tuesday, Myanmar reported 92 more COVID-19 infections, taking the country’s total to 1,610 cases with eight deaths. Many businesses began returning to a work-from-home system last week.

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Source : The Irrawaddy

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