Burma

Myanmar’s CRPH Calls for Halt in Tax Collection

By The Irrawaddy 5 March 2021

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), a group of elected lawmakers who were prevented from taking their seats in Parliament by last month’s coup, said in a statement that Customs Department officials and employees of government ministries involved in tax collection must suspend all such activities until Sept. 30.

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is Myanmar’s Union Parliament.

In its statement issued Thursday, signed by U Lwin Ko Latt, the CRPH-appointed minister for the President’s Office, it said, “The respective ministerial departments collecting various taxes must suspend taxation.”

The CRPH announced on Wednesday that it, acting as the Union Parliament, had approved an amendment to the 2020 Union Taxation Law that requires the suspension of tax collection. The law was approved by Parliament in August for fiscal year 2020-21, which began in October last year and ends this September.

Lawmakers elected in last year’s election held their own swearing-in ceremonies within a week of the coup. The CRPH also appointed four “acting ministers” to take charge of nine ministries this week, as the country’s President U Win Myint, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other ministers are being detained by the military.

The CRPH said on Wednesday that the suspension of tax collection is aimed at deterring the regime’s governing council from misusing public money to fund its killing of peaceful protesters.

Since the coup, millions of Myanmar citizens have taken to the streets to defy the military. More than 50 people, including peaceful young protesters and bystanders, have been killed by police and soldiers firing live rounds during nationwide crackdowns on anti-coup demonstrations.

The CRPH said its amendment to the 2020 Union Taxation Law also aims to help domestic businesses, which are facing enormous losses during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Myanmar’s NLD government previously postponed payments of income tax and commercial tax for businesses, which have been hit hard by COVID-19 since March last year.

The acting President’s Office minister also said that if any civil servants failed to uphold the amendment order and collect tax, “actions will be taken in accordance with the existing laws.”

Civil servants working in such fields as health, education, energy, information and foreign affairs, as well as police, have joined the CDM against the military’s governing council. Many members of the public have voiced support for the plan and are urging others not to pay their taxes until the restoration of the country’s democratically elected leaders. Some civil servants are still working for the military regime, however.

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