Myanmar Tax Reform Plan

Since 2012, with the assistance of international organizations, Internal Revenue Department (IRD) of Myanmar sets Tax Reform Plan with three phases to modernize the tax administration system in Myanmar. The first phase has been completed in 2016/17 fiscal year. Now, the second phase (2017/18 to 2021/22) has been implemented and the third phase will begin after 2021/22 fiscal year. During the first phase, IRD successfully did many reforms and the most significant reforms are (i) enacting and introducing Specific Goods Tax Law 2016 (SGTL), (ii) introducing the self-assessment system (SAS) to replace officer-assessment system (OAS), (iii) restructuring the Company Circle Tax Office by establishing Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) and Medium Taxpayers Offices (1), (2) and (3) to implement better and effective administration mechanism and (iv) drafting the Tax Management Law (TML) to submit to Parliament.

Second Phase of Tax Reform Plan and E-Commerce System

Under the second phase, the followings, such as modernizing tax laws, establishing functional organizations and segmentation like LTO and MTOs, implementing streamline process and procedures, and improving human resources and technology improvements, are included. As part of technology improvements, IRD targeted to implement E-Commerce system during 2018-19 fiscal year as shown in below table.

Reference from: www.irdmyanmar.gov.mm

E-Commerce System Implemented by IRD

On February 21, 2018, IRD issued a pamphlet in respect of using E-Commerce System for the payment of tax through online. According to an officer of IRD, as the first step of the implementation of the E-Commerce System, IRD successfully implemented the E-Commerce System for the companies located in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone for the payment of salary income tax of their employees. On February 23, 2019, as the second step of the implementation of the E-Commerce, IRD announced that all the tax payers of LTO and MTO(s) can use E-Commerce System for online tax payment. On March 2, 2019, IRD invited the tax payers to explain how to use E-Commerce System.

Step-by-Step Procedures

Using E-Commerce System is not mandatory. However, a tax payer who would like to use E-Commerce System must have a Myanmar Payment Union Card (MPU Card), whether an individual debit card or a corporate debit card, to make online tax payment. Such MPU Card may be used for tax payment only, but not for any other type of payment. For an individual debit card, each transaction is allowed for the payment of up to MMK 5 million while MMK 500 million is allowed in each transaction for a corporate debit card. The procedures of using E-Commerce System are summarized in below table.

If there is any mistake on tax type, payment type, tax period and income year, request for correction must be made at a tax office within the month when payment is made. If the request is not made within the time period, tax office, if and when the tax office becomes aware of such mistake, will, in its sole discretion, (i) refund the tax payment to the tax payer or (ii) offset as an advance payment under the tax type in accordance with tax law.

Obstacle

There is one main obstacle for the implementation of E-Commerce System. Although IRD announced that companies can apply MPU corporate card which allows tax payment transaction for up to MMK 500 million, no local bank has issued an MPU corporate card to any company to date. Therefore, companies which are willing to use E-Commerce System for tax payment must authorize an individual (maybe the managing director of the company) to apply MPU individual card and must arrange to pay tax payment with this MPU individual card. As MPU individual card has its limit on each transaction amount (up to MMK 5 million as set out above), the use of MPU individual card would not really work for the companies which has huge amount of tax payment transaction. Therefore, IRD should discuss with the banks to solve this issue as to whether companies may open corporate MPU corporate card for effectively using E-Commerce System.

Conclusion

One of the purposes on the implementation of E-Commerce System is to prevent the bribery and corruptions when tax payment is made as taxpayer has limited contact with tax officer. However, the implementation of E-Commerce System alone would not be enough to meet this purpose unless E-filing (such as filing quarterly tax return, annual tax return and other required documents to tax office through online) can be implemented at the same time. At present, tax payers are still required to visit tax officer for filing the tax documents although the payment can be made through online. It is true that the reforms of tax administration in Myanmar have made some progress and, hopefully E-Commerce System and E-filing will be completed in upcoming years as announced by IRD.