Deadline for Right-hand Drive Tax Payments Looms

Right-hand drive vehicle owners are being reminded the October 8 deadline to pay taxes and meet duty obligations is fast approaching and warned that authorities will clamp down on those who fail to do so
A right-hand drive vehicle on a road near Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A right-hand drive vehicle on a road near Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The General Department of Customs and Excise has urged all registered right-hand drive vehicle owners to fulfil their taxes and duties by October 8 to prevent a crackdown in public places.

According to a statement issued by the General Department of Customs and Excise on September 17, duty-free car owners have until October 8 to meet their tax and duty obligations.

It urged registered right-hand drive vehicle owners who have not paid their taxes and duties to do so before the deadline at the Capital and Provincial Customs and Excise Departments in order to avoid crackdowns by customs and excise officials on the streets, businesses, and public transportation.

Registered right-hand drive automobiles that do not fulfil the tax and duty are subject to a crackdown, confiscation, replacement parts, or destruction in accordance with laws and regulations from October 8.

Thon Tosakak, 32, a driver in Kampot, said he paid taxes and obtained a licence plate a few months ago. He added that if authorities had not postponed the deadline to pay taxes, he would be forced to abandon his automobile as he could not afford to adjust the steering wheel while paying taxes.

“Now that I've paid, I can drive it on the road like everyone else. I can also save nearly $4,000 [the cost to adjust the steering wheel],” he said. “So, I'm no longer worried. I can legally drive on the national highway. Previously, we exclusively hauled on lower roads.”

Meanwhile, Yong Kim Eng, president of the People's Centre for Development and Peace, expressed disappointment since, in the past, the government proclaimed harsh measures in the case of right-hand drive automobiles, but eventually removed these restrictions, leaving the others to pay taxes.

However, some of them have yet to pay their taxes, he added.

“I believe that even if there are further postponements, those who do not want to pay will continue to do so,” Kim Eng said. “They will pay unless specific actions are taken.”

He said that the import of right-hand drive automobiles into Cambodia is still a problem that the government has addressed in order to take action, but it is unable to do so as they are still imported.

There are several reasons for the import of right-hand drive automobiles into Cambodia, including the lack of high fines and harsh punishments, and the possibility of corruption at the border, he added.

“Most importantly, they [right-hand drive owners] believe that the state is unlikely to take action against them, or that there may be a mitigation,” he said. “That’s why they continue to purchase unregistered right-hand drive vehicles.”

On the other hand, authorities occasionally purchase unregistered right-hand drive automobiles, which is unfortunate, he added.

“Officials should set a good example by not driving that type of vehicle. Instead, they should drive a vehicle that is legally registered,” he said.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, 5,249.1 trillion riels, or $1292.9 million, were collected in taxes and duties in the first six months of 2022, equal to 50.08 percent of Cambodia's National Budget.