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Armenian Tax Revenue Down In 2020


Armenia -- The entrance to the State Revenue Committee headquarters in Yerevan, November 29, 2018.

The Armenian government’s tax revenues fell by 8 percent last year due to an economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the State Revenue Committee (SRC) said on Monday.

A senior SRC official, Karen Tamazian, said the government agency collected about 1.39 trillion drams ($2.7 billion) in taxes and customs duties, down from 1.5 trillion drams collected in 2019.

The agency comprising the Armenian tax and customs services thus fell well short of its 2020 revenue target of 1.6 trillion drams, which had been set by the state budget approved by the parliament in late 2019.

The government anticipated the shortfall in tax revenues already in April as Armenia’s economy plunged into recession following the onset of the pandemic. The economic crisis was compounded by the six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh that broke out in late September.

Economy Minister Vahan Kerobian said earlier this month that the economy contracted by an estimated 8.5 percent in 2020.

The government offset the shortfall with fresh loans obtained from the International Monetary Fund and other international lenders. The country’s public debt rose by $533 million, to about $7.9 billion, in January-September 2020. The debt is projected to reach $9.2 billion by the end of this year.

SRC data released last week shows that 72 percent of the government’s 2020 tax revenues were generated by Armenia’s 1,000 leading businesses. One of them, the Grand Tobacco company, remained the number one taxpayer, paying 50.7 billion drams ($97.5 million) in various taxes.

The national gas distribution company owned by Russia’s Gazprom giant was the second most important contributor to the state budget, followed by the country’s largest mining company, the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC). The SRC collected 45.5 billion drams and 41.7 billion drams respectively from these companies.

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