Resident citizens and resident foreigners are subject to personal income tax on their worldwide income. Nonresident foreigners are subject to tax on their Myanmar-source income only. A Myanmar resident is also subject to personal income tax on self-employment and business income from overseas sources. However, salaries earned overseas by nonresident citizens are not subject to tax in Myanmar.
Individuals are considered resident foreigners if they are foreigners and if they reside in Myanmar for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during a tax year (1 April through 31 March). However, regardless of the 183-days threshold rule, if a foreigner earns income from working in a company under a Myanmar Foreign Investment Law (MFIL) permit, the foreigner is automatically regarded as a resident foreigner.
Income subject to tax. Taxable income consists of assessable income, less deductible expenses and allowances.
The taxation of various types of income is described below.
Employment income. All benefits derived from employment are assessable, unless expressly exempt by law. Assessable benefits include salaries, wages, annuities, pension, gratuities, fees, commissions and perquisites received instead of or in addition to salaries and wages, such as house rental allowances, monetary value of rent-free accommodation provided by employers and income tax paid and borne by employers on behalf of employees.
Tax-exempt benefits include premiums paid for the life insurance policy of a taxpayer and his or her spouse and the contributions to savings funds as prescribed by Section 4 of the Income Tax Rules and Regulations.
Self-employment and business income. Taxable self-employment and business income consists of assessable income less deductible expenses and allowances. In general, all types of income are assessable unless expressly exempt by law. For this purpose, business includes investments made for purposes of earning interest.
Capital gains. Gains derived from the sale, exchange or transfer of capital assets are generally subject to capital gains tax. The capital gains tax rate is 10% for residents and nonresidents. If the total value of the sale, exchange or transfer of capital assets is not more than MMK10 million, capital gains tax is not assessed.
Taxation of employer-provided stock options. Employees are subject to tax on benefits derived from shares provided either for free or at a favorable price by the employer.
Basic allowance. An annual standard allowance of 20% is provided for each class of income, but the total relief for a year may not exceed MMK10 million.
Relief allowed for the spouse of a taxpayer. A taxpayer may deduct relief in the amount of MMK1 million per year for his or her spouse who has no assessable earnings.
Relief allowed for children of a taxpayer. A taxpayer may deduct annual relief of MMK500,000 per child for children under the age of 18 who earn no income and for children 18 and above who are full-time students. The deduction can be claimed by only one spouse if the other spouse earns taxable income.
Relief allowed for parents of taxpayer who stay with taxpayer. A taxpayer may deduct annual relief in the amount of MMK1 million for each parent who lives with the taxpayer.
Business deductions. Certain expenses are fully or partially deductible, depending on the type of income. For some expenses, standard deductions are provided.
Other deductions. Payments of the following items are deductible for personal income tax calculation purposes:
- Premiums paid for the life insurance policy of a taxpayer or his or her spouse
- Contribution to saving funds as prescribed by the rules
- Donations to religious or charitable organizations sponsored by the state or recognized through notification by the Ministry of Finance and Revenue, subject to a cap of 25% of the taxable income of the taxpayer
Tax rates. The tax rates applicable to individuals in Myanmar are summarized below.
Resident citizens. Resident citizens are taxed on the following types of income:
- Salaries (Myanmar-source income)
- Capital gains and rental income earned on the lease of land, buildings and apartments (worldwide income)
- Income that has escaped assessment (worldwide income)
The following progressive tax rates apply to annual taxable income from salaries earned by resident citizens.
Resident citizens are subject to tax at a rate of 10% on capital gains and on rental income generated from the leasing of land, building and apartments.
In general, resident citizens are subject to tax on income that escaped assessment at a rate of 30%. If a resident citizen purchases, constructs or acquires a capital asset (for example, land and buildings) for the first time in Myanmar, and if he or she cannot provide evidence that he or she has declared income and paid income tax on such income, the tax officer will regard the amount used to purchase the capital asset as income that escaped assessment. Such income is then taxed at the following progressive tax rates.
Exceeding Not exceeding Rate
MMK MMK %
0 30,000,000 15
30,000,000 100,000,000 20
100,000,000 — 30
Resident citizens are subject to tax on their worldwide income from professions, property and business.
Resident foreigners. Resident foreigners are subject to tax on the following categories of income at the listed rates:
- Salaries and income from professions, property and business (worldwide income): same progressive rates from 0% to 25% applicable to the salaries of resident citizens
- Capital gains and on rental income generated from the leasing of land, building and apartments (worldwide income): 10%
- Income that has escaped assessment (worldwide income): 30%
Nonresident citizens. Nonresident citizens are subject to tax on the following categories of income at the listed rates:
- Income earned abroad except salaries (worldwide income): 10%
- Capital gains (worldwide income): 10%
- Income that has escaped assessment (worldwide income): 30%
Nonresident foreigners. Nonresident foreigners are subject to tax on the following categories of income at the listed rates:
- Salaries (Myanmar-source): same progressive tax rates as those applicable to salaries of resident citizens
- Income from professions, property and business (Myanmarsource): 25%
- Capital gains: 10%
- Income that has escaped assessment: 30%
Property tax. Property tax applies only to immovable properties (land and buildings) located in Yangon. The property tax includes a general tax, lighting tax, water tax and conservancy tax. The City Development Committee decides the rates.
Stamp duty. Stamp duty is levied on various types of instruments at rates ranging from 0.3% to 3%.
Customs duty. Customs duty is levied at rates ranging from 0% to 40%.
Special Commodities Tax. The Myanmar government enacted the Special Commodities Tax, which is similar to an excise duty.
Effective from 1 April 2016, persons who import, manufacture or export specific goods must pay Special Commodities Tax at the prescribed rates. Under Section 11(a) of the Union Tax Law 2016, the tax is collected on imports and local sales of 16 special commodities at rates ranging from 5% to 120%.
A 0% tax rate applies to proceeds received from the exportation of special commodities except for the following types of goods, which are taxed at the listed rates:
- Natural gas: 8%
- Teak, hardwood and logs, including primary teak logs and hardwood logs: 50%
- Jade, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and other raw precious gemstones: 20%
- Jade, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and other processed precious stones and jewelries (finished products): 5%
Employers and employees must each contribute to the Social Security Fund. The rates, which are applied to employee income, are 2% for employees and 3% for employers, with a maximum monthly contribution of MMK15,000 (MMK300,000 x 5%), which consists of a contribution of MMK 6,000 for the employee and MMK9,000 for the employer. These contributions finance the following:
- Benefits for pregnancy and childbirth
- Temporary disabilities benefits
- Child welfare and family assistance benefits
- Superannuation pension benefits
- Occupational disease
The contribution is due between the 1st and 15th of each month following the payroll payment. The penalty for an overdue payment is 10% of the monthly contribution.
Tax filing and payment procedures
The Myanmar tax year runs from 1 April to 31 March.
Individuals who derive only employment income during the tax year are not required to file a personal income tax return.
Employers must file an annual salary statement with the tax authorities between 1 April and 30 June after the end of the tax year.
Myanmar has entered into double tax treaties with the following countries.
India Malaysia United Kingdom
Korea (South) Singapore Vietnam
The method of eliminating double taxation varies by treaty.
To enter Myanmar, all visitors must have a valid passport and an entry visa. The following are the principal types of entry visas:
- Gratis Diplomatic/Official Courtesy Visa
- International Organization Visa
- Employment Visa
- Social Visa
- Religious Visa
- Education Visa
- Journalist Visa
- Crew Visa
- Workshop/Seminar/Meeting/Research Visa
- Tourist Visa
- Business Visa
- Transit Visa
In addition, the following are the three types of re-entry visas:
- Multiple Journey Special Re-entry Visa
- Special Re-entry Visa
- Single Re-entry Visa
A Tourist Visa allows a stay of 28 days, which may be extended for an additional 14 days. A Business Visa allows a stay of 10 weeks (70 days) and is valid for 3 months from the date of issuance. For a long stay, a foreigner needs to apply for a Multiple Journey Special Re-Entry Visa, which allows the visa holder to stay in Myanmar for up to 10 weeks from the date of arrival and has a validity period ranging from 3 months to 1 year from date of issuance. A visa on arrival is granted if all of the relevant requirements are met and if relevant documents are provided. Infants and children also require separate visas even if they are traveling on a parent’s passport.
Individuals may apply for the different types of visas through the Myanmar embassies or consulates overseas and also at the point of entry.
Myanmar has introduced a work and stay permit system for foreign employees, particularly in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and under the Myanmar Foreign Investment Law (FIL). Expatriate employees under the Myanmar Companies Act who want to live and work in Myanmar must apply for a stay permit based only on an employment contract. For directors and shareholders, other supporting documents are required to apply for such permit, which has a duration of three months to one year.
However, because the Permit to Trade is one of the supporting documents required to apply for a stay permit for business executive and employees, in practice, expatriates working in Myanmar before the issuance of such permits need a business visa, which will allow the visa holder to stay in Myanmar for up to 10 weeks.
The following relatives of a Myanmar citizen permanently residing in Myanmar may apply for a permanent residence permit if they are temporarily residing in Myanmar:
The validity of a permanent residence permit is unlimited. Cardholders are required to update their permanent residence card every five years. The cardholders can also use this card as an unlimited visa to enter Myanmar, except in the event of a more than 24-consecutive-month stay abroad.
An individual must submit an application for a permanent residence permit to the Immigration Department of the city where the foreigner lives, together with the following documents:
- Application form Ah Ma Na -1 for the permanent residence of a foreigner
- Three color photographs sized 1.5 inches by 2 inches that were taken during the preceding six months
- Original and copy of valid passport and travel document (an original and copy of each passport if the individual holds more than one type of passport)
- Sufficient recognized documentation establishing the citizenship from the state of origin of the applicant for permanent residence
- Appointment letter or invitation letter that has a term of one year or more
- Official recognized documents with respect to the educational qualifications for experts, valid recommendations of relevant organizations regarding workplace experience and service term relating to the applicant’s business
For applicants for permanent residence who are accompanied by a spouse and legal offspring who are unmarried and under 18 years of age, the following additional documents are required:
- Record of household members list
- Curriculum vitae, including items, such as name, age and occupation of family members
- Original and copy of legal marriage certificate if accompanied by a spouse
- Birth certificate for offspring under 18 years of age with a notarized English translation
- Official guardianship certificate for adopted offspring under 18 years of age that is translated into English language recognized by the relevant government
For persons who desire to invest and operate a business in Myanmar, the following documents must be submitted:
- Permission and company registration document issued under the Investment Law
- Commercial activity of the company
- Record of company’s account for three years if it engaged in business in other countries
A curriculum vitae of the responsible person in Myanmar is required for ex-Myanmar citizens who are unable to contribute to long-term benefits of the state and who are not experts or able to invest.
For foreigners related to Myanmar citizens, the following documents are required:
- Application for foreigner, which is undertaken by his or her related Myanmar citizen
- Official document authenticated and translated into English by the person who is recognized and entitled to testify by the relevant government of the foreigner that the foreigner has no other wife or husband other than the Myanmar citizen
The above documents (except for the application for permanent residence, passport and visa) must be translated into Myanmar and certified or legalized as regulated.
The application process is usually completed within six months. After confirmation, the Immigration Department issues the permanent residence card within five working days.
Family and personal considerations
Family members. The working spouse of a work permit holder does not automatically receive a work permit; an application must be filed independently.
Marital property regime. Myanmar does not have a community property or similar marital property regime.
Forced heirship. No forced heirship rules apply in Myanmar.
Driver’s permits. International driver’s licenses are apparently not accepted in Myanmar. Drivers must apply for a Myanmar license at the Department for Road Transport and Administration.