Reforms of Myanmar Taxation
Since 2011, the country has moved to institutionalize a more democratic system of governance and open up the economy. To address the situation, the government has committed to a series of reforms. In Myanmar, internal revenue department (IRD) has exercised the official assessment system (OAS) for taxation so many years. Recently, IRD has been initiating the self-assessment system (SAS) for taxation. It is understood that fiscal policy reform measures has to be made. Transforming from OAS to SAS is one of the reform measures of our fiscal policy. The introduction of a new foreign investment law has also aimed at attracting outside companies to establish businesses in Myanmar and provides lucrative tax incentive for their ventures. Myanmar has been facing several challenges that hamper its reform process.
In Myanmar, some important initial moves have been made to overhaul its economy. The country has a GDP of $53 billion or so which makes up a mere 0.3% of continent-wide production in mainland southeast Asia. Rural areas are home to between 70% and 75% populations. FDI increased fivefold or so in 2013 but that was from a marginal base of just $37 billion (slated for only 30 projects) in 2012. In Myanmar, there exist 2 major objectives in accordance with the tax reforms; namely, enhancement of tax collection to raise tax to GDP ratio in order to sustain the development of the state and modernizing the tax administrative system. So also, there exist two strategies in order to achieve these major objectives. They are transformation of current OAS to SAS, transformation of current commercial tax which is a mixture of turnover tax and some features of VAT to a GST or VAT whichever is appropriate with our economy.
In this regard, the action plans for the first strategy are modernization of IRD by making establishment of function-based taxpayers’ offices and applying SAS system. On 1-4-2014, a large taxpayers’ office (LTO) has been...