The taxable period of a company is the same as its financial year (income year), which is from 1 April to 31 March. Income earned during the financial year is assessed to tax in the assessment year, which is the year following the financial year. Under the Union Taxation Law 2018, it is stated that the tax fiscal year for 2018/19 will remain the same (i.e. 1 April to 31 March) for all taxpayers except state-owned enterprises, which are required to file tax returns based on the budget year ending 30 September starting 2018/19, from 1 October 2018.
It is also stated in the Union Taxation Law 2018 that the fiscal year for Specific Goods Tax Law, Commercial Tax Law, and Income Tax Law shall be the same for all taxpayers, including both private taxpayers and state-owned enterprises, starting from 1 October 2019. In other words, all taxpayers are required to follow the new financial period of 30 September year-end beginning 1 October 2019. At this juncture, there is no guideline issued by the IRD/Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) addressing transition issues regarding the change of financial year-end for 2019/20 for private taxpayers. A private taxpayer is likely to have a financial period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 followed by a financial period from 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2019.
In general, annual income tax returns must be filed within three months from the end of the financial year.
Tax returns for capital gains must be filed within 30 days from the date of disposal of the capital assets.
If a taxpayer discontinues one’s business, returns must be filed within one month from the date of discontinuance of business.
The failure of a taxpayer to file income tax returns, knowing that assessable income has been obtained, is deemed to have ‘fraudulent intention’.
Payment of tax
Advance corporate tax payments are made in quarterly instalments within ten days from the end of the relevant quarter throughout the income tax year based on the estimated total income for the year. The advance payments and any taxes withheld are creditable against the final tax liability. The date for settling the final tax liability is specified in the notice of demand issued by the IRD.
Capital gains tax needs to be paid within 30 days from the date of disposal of capital assets.
Tax audit process
Under the Myanmar Income Tax Law, if it is found that there is a fraudulent intention to evade tax, the assessment or reassessment of income tax can be made at any time on the income that has escaped assessment of tax.
Failure by a taxpayer to file a return of income knowing that assessable income has been obtained, failure to comply with the notice of the IRD to submit accounts and documents, including the tax return and profit and loss accounts within the time prescribed, or submitting forged instruments and other documents are included within the meaning of fraudulent intention. If the tax authority in the course of investigation finds that a taxpayer has concealed income or particulars relating to income, the taxpayer may be permitted to fully disclose the facts within the specified time. In addition, the taxpayer must pay a penalty equal to 100% of the tax increased on account of the concealment. If the taxpayer fails to disclose the particulars within the specified time or discloses less than the income concealed, the taxpayer will also be subject to prosecution, in addition to paying the tax and penalty. If the taxpayer is found guilty, the taxpayer may be punishable with imprisonment for between three to ten years.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitation to raise an assessment is three years after the financial year-end. It does not apply in cases of fraudulent default. Mere filing of the income tax return and payment of advance tax in time does not constitute a final tax assessment.
Topics of focus for tax authorities
The following issues are currently being focused on by the tax authorities:
- Timely filing of tax returns and payment of taxes (i.e. corporate tax, commercial tax, employer tax, specific goods tax, etc.).
- Tax deductibility of donations for corporate tax purposes.
- WHT compliance on both domestic and cross-border transactions.
- Stamp duty compliance (i.e. the application of the duty rates and timeliness of payment).
- Related-party transactions (e.g. payment of management fee to head office, shareholder loans).