Pay taxes or face public shaming, court, GDT warns

The General Department of Taxation (GDT) has said it will take strict action against business owners who do not pay their tax debts – including public shaming – and that repeat offenders could face court action.

In a notice issued on November 17 targeted at tax debtors, the GDT underlined that paying taxes is the obligation of all citizens, and contributes to national economic development in all fields.

The department, under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said it “had previously observed that most enterprises would come and pay their tax debts with a high sense of responsibility”.

“But there are still some that have not come to pay their tax debts, even though the GDT has repeatedly issued invitations, as reminders to come and pay.”

Eng Ratana, director of the GDT’s Large Taxpayer Department, affirmed that a large share of enterprise owners had yet to pay their tax arrears despite numerous “invitations”.

He told The Post on November 23 that the GDT would take a series of measures before seeking any court action as a final resort, which he said could potentially lead to closure. “This is a joint notice to confirm that they are still in debt and let them come and solve the problem.”

“We can let them pay in instalments if they lack the ability to avoid tax evasion.”

He believes that the notice will prod business owners into promptly settling their tax dues, and avoid legal action by the GDT.

The GDT notice went on to say that offenders could face other actions such as public name disclosure, suspension or termination of business activities, a freeze on imports and exports or bank accounts, or the suspension of ownership transfer of movable and immovable property.

The department said it will also work with the Ministry of Commerce to suspend the registration of new companies and the transfer of shares.

The GDT may also seek collaboration with the National Police to bring the involved individuals to pay tax debts, arrest them or confiscate property, and forward cases to the judiciary.

The department has said it collected more than $2.3 billion in revenue in the first 10 months of this year, down by 5.05 per cent year-on-year, noting that this represents 103.23 per cent of the annual target of $2.24307 billion, as outlined in the Law on Financial Management for 2021.

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