Gov­ern­ment to name and shame restau­rants not pay­ing their taxes

The Myanmar Times - - Business - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

THE gov­ern­ment has an­nounced plans to name and shame those restau­rants that are not pay­ing their dues.

U Min Htut, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Depart­ment, said that restau­rants found not pay­ing their 5 per­cent com­mer­cial tax would find their de­tails posted on the tax depart­ment’s web­site.

“The com­mer­cial tax of 5pc is the money the con­sumer is pay­ing to the gov­ern­ment via the restau­rants,” he said. “And it is the restau­rant’s duty to pay it back to the gov­ern­ment in full.”

The gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a sys­tem of stickers in Yan­gon Re­gion in 2014 in an ef­fort to make lo­cal restau­rants pay the com­mer­cial tax on the bill. A cus­tomer pays the tax and should re­ceive a la­bel posted to their re­ceipt ac­knowl­edg­ing pay­ment. The la­bels, which come in a range of dif­fer­ent de­nom­i­na­tions, are pur­chased from the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Depart­ment. How­ever, au­thor­i­ties say that some restau­rants are not pro­vid­ing the la­bels to the cus­tomer or are pro­vid­ing a value less than what the cus­tomer should re­ceive.

Tax au­di­tors, in­spec­tors and cus­tomer com­plaints were be­ing used to un­der­stand who was not pay­ing their dues, U Min Htut said.

“If the restau­rants are found to be fail­ing to put a stamp on the re­ceipt on for four con­sec­u­tive oc­ca­sions within a fi­nan­cial year, then the name of those restau­rants will be posted on the web­site,” he said.

There were 262 restau­rants that failed to fol­low the tax di­rec­tive prop­erly dur­ing the 2015 to 2016 fis­cal year and they were fined K72 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from Yan­gon Re­gion In­ter­nal Rev­enue Depart­ment. So far this fi­nan­cial year there are 122 restau­rants fined al­most K36 mil­lion.

U Aung Kyaw Tint, divi­sion head at Yan­gon Re­gion’s In­ter­nal Rev­enue depart­ment, told The Myan­mar Times that a re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tion by his depart­ment found that about 35pc of restau­rants were abus­ing the sys­tem.

“If restau­rants have failed to fol­low the proper di­rec­tion with­out any strong rea­son, they will be fined,” he said. “The guilty are ob­vi­ous.”

Mean­while, con­sumers ap­pear to re­main obliv­i­ous to the sys­tem, un­aware that their pay­ment is not mak­ing its way to the state cof­fers.

“I know that we are pay­ing tax to the gov­ern­ment but I don’t usu­ally ask for the re­ceipt,” said Daw Thazin Soe, while mak­ing a pur­chase at JDonuts on Bo Aung Kyaw Street this week. “And I hardly ever check the value of the tax stamp value they put on it when I do get a re­ceipt.”

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