‘Cambodia Daily’ newspaper may be shut over taxes

The Cambodia Daily was established in 1993 by a US journalist.

PHNOM PENH – The Cambodia Daily, an English-language tabloid, faces closure and confiscation of its assets if it fails to pay nearly a decade in taxes by Sept 4, the nation’s top tax official said Sunday.

General Department of Taxation head Kong Vibol said a notice to that effect was sent Aug 4 to the daily, established in 1993 by Bernard Krisher, a veteran US journalist who had covered Cambodia in the 1960s for Newsweek magazine.

According to a tax document sent to the Cambodia Daily, a copy of which was seen by Kyodo News on Sunday, the Cambodia Daily had failed to pay taxes from 2007 through 2016, and owed a total of 25.7 billion riels (about $6.3 million, 209.3 million baht) in back taxes.

“If the Cambodia Daily doesn’t pay its taxes by Sept. 4, 2017, the GDT will issue an official letter confirming that the Cambodia Daily is subject to tax liabilities and will begin to implement the foreclosure of the company,” Kong Vibol warned.

The daily’s current owner, Deborah Krisher-Steele, confirmed that she had received a notice from the tax department, adding she was unaware of the debt when she purchased the company from her father.

On the daily’s website there is a post by company founder Krisher, saying he saw an opportunity to help the fledgling democracy by launching a newspaper in Cambodia after the UN-supervised elections of 1993.

Kong Vibol said the Cambodia Daily had twice responded to earlier tax notices, including once claiming to be tax exempt because it was established as a non-profit organisation. But the tax department chief said those attempts to avoid taxation had been dismissed.

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