12 April 2019
MYANMAR: Mobile Phone Sales Liable for 5% Surcharge as of 1 June
As of 1 June this year, a tax of 5% is to be imposed on all mobile phone handsets and accessories sold in the country. The levy will be calculated on the sales value of each item and charged to the relevant purchasers. Vendors will then be obliged to provide customers with a receipt for the tax amount paid. In line with this, the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) recently released specimens of commercial tax stamps with denominations ranging from Kyat 50 to Kyat 10,000 (US$6.2).
With the IRD having previously imposed a 5% tax on payments made at restaurants and hotels, as well as a levy of 1% on purchases of gold and gold jewellery, the latest move is seen as a bid to further drive up state revenues. This follows reports that the country’s tax to GDP ratio is much lower than that of the majority of its ASEAN neighbours.
Overall, Myanmar is seen as one of the fastest-growing mobile phone markets in the ASEAN bloc, with at least 80% of its population said have access to an internet-enabled mobile phones. This latest move, however, has seen local mobile phone vendors raise concerns about the likely negative impact on sales. At the same time, they have called for greater regulation in the face of the growing level of illegal mobile handset sales.