The head of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC), Gagik Khachatrian, continued to question on Tuesday a more than 13 percent increase in tax revenues envisaged by the Armenian government’s draft budget for next year.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Khachatrian insisted that the SRC will have trouble collecting 101 billion drams ($270 million) in additional taxes, duties and social security payments unless the government specifies their concrete sources.
The 2012 budget drafted by the Ministry of Finance late last month would raise public spending by about 5 percent to 1.05 trillion drams ($2.8 billion) in 2012. It calls for a total of 910 billion drams in tax and other budgetary revenues.
Khachatrian openly described the tax revenue target as unrealistic as the spending bill was approved by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s cabinet on September 29. Sarkisian dismissed his objections, saying that the SRC can meet the target by improving the tax administration and cracking down on the informal sector of the economy.
“I just pointed out that they should show those areas of economic development from where those revenues can be expected so that we … can enter the year 2012 well-prepared and know how much in revenues to collect and from which sectors,” the SRC chief told RFE/RL. “Unless there is such a document, the risks will certainly grow.”
Khachatrian indicated that his concerns have still not been addressed. He did not comment on a package of fresh amendments to Armenian tax legislation which the government plans to push through parliament later this year.
Sarkisian discussed the draft amendments with the leadership of Armenia’s largest business association last week. He said that if passed they will translate into higher tax revenues.
The tax package has not been publicized yet.