Laos has announced that it will prohibit vehicle owners who have not paid road tax from crossing the border into other countries.
According to a notice, released on February 18 by the Ministry of Finance, a road tax payment certificate must be presented when crossing the border.
It is unclear when the new ruling will come into effect.
The move is designed to enforce a new measure that has been introduced to force motorists to pay the annual tax after the government has fallen short of the target set for road tax revenue over the past few years.
The government has also added more options for the payment of road tax to make it easier for vehicle owners while noting that drivers who didn’t pay the tax would be fined.
Popular local commercial bank BCEL notably began offering road tax payment facilitation through its BCEL ONE app in 2017.
However, less than half of all vehicle owners paid road tax in 2019, while in previous years fewer than 30 percent of all vehicle owners paid the tax.
There were about 1.8 million vehicles in Laos with 843,500 registered in Vientiane in 2017.
Meanwhile, about 1.3 million cars cross the border between Laos and Thailand annually, 70 percent of which are registered in Laos, according to Vientiane Times.
Surprised this hasn’t been law for years. Thai authorities have been checking their registrations for years to ensure road tax is up to date before allowing them to cross into neighboring countries. Additionally, any vehicle on finance needs approval from the finance company before the vehicle is allowed to depart. This could explain why there are slightly fewer Thai registrations crossing at Vientiane into Laos than Laos registrations crossing to Thailand. Once Laos authorities become stricter, the imbalance will probably be reduced.