Availability of an Independent Review Mechanism for the Application REF#6390

26 Sep 2023 | Tax Issue Tackled

Last modified date: 26 Sep 2023

Issue Description

In some specific cases, investment projects can be hindered or significantly delayed where, for any reason, access to normal government services such as registration and licencing can be denied despite the investors seemingly meeting the criteria for such access. Furthermore, the new online business registration process does not always function as designed – users are often required to provide paper copies of their supporting documentation in addition to completing the online templates, or to resubmit their application due to errors in the system. This further adds to the delays that are being experienced.

At present, there is no mechanism through which businesses can request to have decisions or actions taken by public officials independently reviewed to ensure that they are in accordance with the Kingdom’s laws and regulations, and to establish whether these legal instruments are being applied consistently and indiscriminately.

Many countries, including regional neighbours such as Thailand and Vietnam, have in place a system of Administrative Courts through which private individuals or businesses that perceive themselves to have been treated irregularly by a public body can make an appeal and request to have their case independently reviewed.

Impact on business

The lack of an independent review mechanism for the application of laws increases the level of regulatory risk perceived by prospective investors in their evaluation of Cambodia, which has a negative impact upon investment inflows. In particular, international banks and lending institutions are much less willing to offer funding for investments in Cambodia if regulatory risk is perceived to be too high.

To introduce such a mechanism would enhance investor confidence and, furthermore, would strengthen the capacity of the Royal Government of Cambodia to ensure effective implementation of its own laws and regulations.


  • Create an independent review mechanism within relevant ministries and public bodies responsible for processing applications and approvals for private entities, and a Supreme Administrative Court.

We respectfully recommend the creation of an independent review mechanism for cases involving disputes between public institutions and private entities. Whereas a Supreme Administrative Court would serve as the final appeals destination, we suggest that independent dispute resolution mechanisms be introduced within each Ministry and public authority that processes applications and approvals for private entities. We cite the Committee of Tax Arbitration (CTA), established by Sub Decree No.03 on The Organisation and Function of the Committee of Tax Arbitration (6 January 2016), as an institution that can potentially serve as an example of such dispute resolution mechanisms. Through the CTA, taxpayers can appeal interpretations of tax regulations made by the General Department of Taxation or General Department of Customs and Excise in relation to their tax liabilities, and can have their case independently reviewed.

We recommend that the Ministry involve the private sector during this development process. The active participation of the private sector will ensure that the Appeal Board accurately reflects the needs of the business community and will enhance the transparency and legitimacy of the mechanism once established.

Furthermore, we request that the Ministry of Commerce commit to a “maximum response time” for business registration applications and agree to have cases independently reviewed where this time is exceeded.

Dialogue with

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