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TPP tax payers decry unjust taxation

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Min Thu Tha – Last Saturday, Nov. 23, locals gathered in quarter 3 of Three Pagodas Pass (TPP) on the Thai-Burmese border to protest against alleged unjust taxation.

At around 9:00 AM more than 10 TPP tax-payers publicly opposed Daw San San Aye, the head of Kyarinnseikkyi township [Karen State] revenue department, as she was meeting with politicians, local authorities and quarter administrators.

Township revenue department head meeting with town residents (Photo: BNA)
Township revenue department head meeting with town residents (Photo: BNA)
“The tax paperwork is not the same as it was last year. Last year we paid profit tax, but this year there is a new income tax added. The head of the revenue department has not signed the new paperwork, so we are skeptical about these taxes. We are happy to pay taxes if they are just,” said Ko Thar Cho, a tax-payer.

“Last year I was charged 1,200 baht (36,000 kyats), but I was given a receipt for only 29,000 kyats. When we inquired we found that almost every tax-payer had about a 5,000 kyat discrepancy, so we would like to have all taxes and changes to taxation explained,” continued Ko Thar Cho.

Ko Thar Cho also said that Daw San San Aye did not clearly explain taxation processes, instead arguing with tax-payers and suggesting that they are “not civilized.” Daw San San Aye allegedly said that she would submit recordings of the grievances to higher authorities.

Upon IMNA’s request for comment, Daw San San Aye replied “Concerning this case, I do not want to talk about it at here.”

Typically, the domestic revenue department collects taxes such as income tax, trading tax, and revenue stamp tax from April to June annually.

The domestic revenue department is still working on a State revenue self-supervision system. Self-supervision would mean that employers have to state the account of their income and expenditures for public reassurance.

“Those who spend more than 900,000 kyat per month on manufacturing are taxed. Those who spend less than 900,000 kyats are considered small businesses and are not subject to tax,” stated a member of domestic revenue department staff in an interview with Myanmar TV.

Previously, any business involved in trade is levied with tax if gains for one year amount to 300,000 kyat, but a newly enacted law has changed the amount to 10,000,000 kyat.

According to the township administration office there are about 500 tax payers in TPP sub-township, which is under the administration of Kyarinnseikkyi township. These taxpayers include owners of local shops, restaurants, jewelry stores, furniture vendors and apartment owners. In the past they have typically been charged annual import and income taxes. The income tax payer generally pays at least 1,000 baht per year, while those who build new homes or buildings pay 50,000 baht.

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