Tax-collecting agencies unlikely to meet targets

Tax-collecting agencies unlikely to meet targets

The revenue target for the three tax-collecting agencies this fiscal year is unlikely to be met after the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted business activities.

The Revenue Department's tax collection fell short of its target by 2.2% for the first half of this fiscal year, and the magnitude of the economic downturn is expected to escalate in the latter half, said Sommai Siriudomset, principal adviser on strategic tax administration at the department.

The country's largest tax-collecting agency gathered 805 billion baht from October 2019 to March 2020, missing the target by 17.8 billion baht.

Mrs Sommai said impacts from the coronavirus outbreak started in the middle of January and will continue to deal a blow to department revenue in the second half of fiscal 2020.

The department amassed 397 billion baht in value-added tax (VAT), which is an economic indicator, during the October-to-March period, below its target by 16 billion baht.

VAT on domestic consumption, which outpaced the target by 7.1 billion baht for the six months through March, helped partly offset a 24-billion-baht shortfall in VAT on imported products.

The lower VAT on imported goods was largely attributable to the country's flagging economy and the sharp slump in oil prices.

Mrs Sommai said VAT is the department's major income source, representing 40% of the total income, but the Covid-19 pandemic and the government's measures to contain the virus, including imposition of a night curfew and closure of department stores, have hampered spending, hurt tourism and lowered tax takings.

In an effort to shore up income, the Revenue Department plans to beef up efficiency in tax collection, she said.

The department recently estimated that its revenue haul would be 100 billion baht short of the 2.12-trillion-baht target for fiscal 2020.

A source at the Excise Department who requested anonymity said it would be impossible to reach this fiscal year's 640-billion-baht target -- and even 600 billion baht is doubtful -- because of business disruption, particularly at auto assembly factories, and falling oil prices.

Excise tax on fuel and vehicles accounts for half of the department's total income collection.

The department's revenue collection was 5.1% below the target at 42.6 billion baht for the five months to February. Its full-year target is 111 billion baht.

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