Parliamentarians told to pay up on guesthouse tax
LAWMAKERS dorming in stateowned accommodation in the capital will now be subject to a 5 percent commercial tax, according to the Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee.
The Sebin guesthouse, which puts up many lawmakers, is not exempt from tax law, the city authority told parliamentarians.
Known among some MPs as “Heartbreak Hotel” for its austere conditions, the guesthouse is owned by the committee, making it a government facility.
The commercial tax will be collected from MPs and forwarded to the Internal Revenue Department, the committee said.
“The Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee announced on July 26 that MPs staying at the guesthouse must pay commercial tax of 5pc starting on August 1,” said U Min Thein, a Pyithu Hluttaw representative from Mandalay Region (NLD; Ngazun).
MPs living in the municipal guesthouse are charged K5000 per day and must pay a K250 per diem tax, amounting to about K7000 for one month.
Some MPs said if tax is paid on the property, the committee should improve services offered at the compound.
“If we must pay taxes like we are taking services from the municipal guesthouse, then I want them to provide better services,” said Sai Thiha Kyaw from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (Mongyai).
Other MPs acknowledged that as the government attempts to set the tax collection system straight, civil servants and elected parliamentarians should be leading by example.
“Everyone has to pay taxes. The MPs should not be exempt. Now is the time for setting in place a proper taxation system for the country,” said U Myat Nyan Soe (NLD; Yangon 3).
Daw Khin San Hlaing (NLD; Palae) said, “MPs are role models for the public and so this tax should be carried out.”
Parliamentarians staying at the Sebin guesthouse have previously complained of restrictions at the government-owned facility, including requirements to register family guests and a prohibition on political discussions and trainings at the compound.
– Translation by Khine Thazin Han
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, then a lower house MP, reads a journal at the Sebin guesthouse in Nay Pyi Taw on August 24, 2015.