Hot! Burmese Public Demands Tax Reform

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The Burmese public is calling on lawmakers to reform the country’s tax code, which has allowed “more than half of taxpayers to avoid paying their dues,” reports The Irawaddy Magazine. Hundreds of business people gathered at a public hearing in Rangoon, criticizing the lack of enforcement and accountability in the tax system.

If the tax system isn’t reformed, businesses will have difficulty competing on an international level, especially as ASEAN continues to develop.

“We have to pay a lot [of taxes], but 70 percent [of Burmese people] don’t pay taxes,” said one businessman at the hearing.

 

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While the government doesn’t officially allow citizens to evade taxes, it happens on a grand scale: “some of Burma’s biggest tycoons are conspicuously absent from a list of top-paying taxpayers released by the country’s Internal Revenue Department (IRD) last year,” Irawaddy reports.

Small companies are heavily taxed while larger conglomerates bear hardly any tax burden. Critics say the problem stems from a history of a lack of tax law enforcement. Even with a “new” constitution, enforcement is still “very weak.”

Read the full article here.

 

Flickr photo courtesy of meiling_bedard

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