KBZ Bank, Army-Run Companies Among Top Corporate Tax Payers

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 18 March 2016

RANGOON — According to Burma’s Internal Revenue Department, Kanbawza (KBZ) Bank tops the list of corporate tax payers for 2014-15, along with army-owned companies.

The department on Friday identified online the names of the country’s top 50 tax-paying companies, saying it would release the rest of a top-1,000 list on its website at a later date. Banks are well-represented on the list, making up five of the top 50 tax-paying companies.

KBZ Bank paid 22 billion kyats ($18.1 million) in taxes for 2014-15, securing the No. 1 spot. This is more than double the figure of the second-place company on the list, Myawaddy Bank, which paid less than 10 billion kyats. The top five was rounded out by Denko Trading Company, Myawaddy Trading Company and Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL) in third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Myawaddy Bank, Myawaddy Trading Company and UMEHL are run by the military.

Nyo Myint, senior managing director of the KBZ Group of Companies, told The Irrawaddy that this is fourth time that KBZ Bank has topped the list.

“The tax amount grows each year as we offer more services, products and customers, and I hope that these amounts will only continue to increase next year,” Nyo Myint said.

Founded in the 1990s in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, and owned by Aung Ko Win, the KBZ Group of Companies owns one of Burma’s largest banks and also has business interests in several other sectors. Crucially, it is not on the US Treasury Department’s blacklist, unlike a number of other large conglomerates in Burma. Aung Ko Win’s name did appear for a time on the Australian and European Union’s sanctions lists, targeted for his ties to Burma’s former military regime, but he was removed shortly after the government of President Thein Sein assumed power in 2011.

Shwe Taung Development Company, ranked 12th, was the sole construction company to be included in the top 20. The rest are banking and trading companies. The well-known Asia World Company, led by US-blacklisted Steven Law, also known as Tun Myint Naing, came in at No. 22.

The Internal Revenue Department has said previously that its tax collection methods are improving and that government revenues generated from taxes are increasing.