Monday, 18 November 2019

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Three year tax holiday for Burmese soccer players, coaches and clubs

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Burma’s Ministry of Finance and Revenue has exempted players, coaches and clubs of the Myanmar National League (MNL), the first ever professional soccer league of the country, from paying taxes for three years.

An official of one of the MNL soccer clubs told Mizzima on Thursday that the tax holiday would be from 2009 to 2011. It is aimed at promoting professional soccer clubs, which are currently running at a loss because of lack of publicity, which could generate income.

“We were called by the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) and were informed that their request to exempt tax has been granted by the ministry. The exemption is for all players, coaches and the club,” the official said.

But the official said the exemption would only be applicable for players, coaches and the club’s income. It would not include the businesses of the owner’s.

While the office of the Ministry of Finance and Revenue could not be contacted for comment, an official at the MFF office in Rangoon declined comment on their negotiation with the ministry regarding the tax exemption.

Currently, the MNL has eight soccer clubs owned by business tycoons close to the ruling junta. And each of the owners has reportedly invested a fortune in the clubs.

For last year’s season, Tayza, owner of the Yangon United FC, at a press conference in July, said he had invested over Kyat 500 million (US $ 500,000). Similarly, an official at the Yadanbon FC told Mizzima that the club was set up with an approximate investment of Kyat 500 million.

Despite the huge investment, the official said, the club has only limited income through ticket sales for matches and selling of souvenirs of the club. And the cash prize for the season’s champion is only Kyat 10 million (US$ 10,000).

According to Burma’s taxation rules everyone with an income of more than Kyat 10,000 per annum has to pay as tax 10 per cent of their income. Business enterprises and companies are required to declare a yearly income and based on the declaration, they are required to pay a 10 per cent income tax.

Most players of the MNL, according to the official, earn Kyat 100,000 to 300,000 (approximately US$ 300).

An official of the Yadanabon FC told Mizzima that so far the club and its players, including the coaches are receiving their monthly salaries in full without paying any taxes.

“If we are to pay taxes at this point, I think it would be extremely difficult to run the show. Now, all players and the club can try their best to sustain themselves at this premature stage. I am glad the government granted the exemption. I believe it is to promote the clubs and football,” the official, who wished not to be named, said.


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