New circular introduces key corporate-income tax changes

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 08:00

On June 22, 2015, the finance ministry issued Circular 96/2015/TT-BTC, guiding the corporate income tax regime in Decree 12/2015/ND-CP ("Decree 12") of the government, dated February 12, 2015.

Decree 12 provides the details for the implementation of the law that amends and supplements some articles of tax laws, tax decrees and of Circular 78/2014/TT-BTV, dated June 18, 2014, Circular 119/2014/TT-BTC dated August 25, 2014, and Circular 151/2014/TT-BTC dated October 10 2014 of the finance ministry ("Circular 96" or "the Circular"). The Circular will come into force on August 6, 2015.

With a number of changes in the corporate income tax ("CIT") regime being introduced following the promulgation of Decree 12, Circular 96 was subsequently ratified in an attempt to clarify the modifications of the previous regulations on CIT. Consisting 15 articles, the Circular shall be applied to the current fiscal year 2015.

Some noteworthy contents of Circular 96 can be summarised as follows:

(These points are also detailed in an official letter 2512/TCT-CS, dated June 24, 2015, of the general tax department of Viet Nam, which introduced the new CIT regulations in the Circular.)

Remittances from offshore investments of a Vietnamese enterprise that has already fulfilled the CIT obligation in a foreign country shall be governed by treaties on avoidance of double taxation, to which Viet Nam and the foreign country are signatories. In the absence of a treaty on avoiding double taxation, if the tax rate stipulated by the foreign country is lower than that of Vietnamese laws (i.e. 22 per cent, which will decrease to 20 per cent from January 1, 2016), the enterprise will be compelled to pay an additional sum that is equal to the differential between the two legislations. The reference of international treaties on avoidance of double taxation is a new supplement to the current CIT regime under Circular 78/2014/TT-BTC, which shall bring a more comprehensive insight from a legal perspective to Vietnamese investors who intend to invest overseas.

The time for determining the tax-calculated revenue in case of a service supplying activities shall be the time in which the service or part of the service is fulfilled (except for 15 specific circumstances stated in Article 5.3 of Circular 78/2014/TT-BTC, as amended by Article 6.1 of Circular 119/2014/TT-BTC), as opposed to the previous regulation under which there is a possibility such time for revenue determination can be the date of the invoice that was made before the supply of service is completed.

In the event of an expenditure arising out of an asset lease agreement entered into with an individual, the enterprise will now be allowed to categorise such amount into its tax-calculated expense, provided that it can present the relevant asset lease agreement and the note of payment for such lease (if personal income tax is paid by the enterprise in favour of the individual lessor, the enterprise must also submit the note of payment for the relevant tax). The new regulation promises to provide remarkable incentives to enterprises looking for a potential real-estate lease with individuals, as well as to boost the development of the Vietnamese real-estate market in the near future.

Additionally, under Circular 96, enterprises are no longer required to submit a written explanation to the local tax authority for categorisation of out-of-order assets in their deductible revenue in the course of the CIT calculation. The abolishment of such a purposeless burden means enterprises are now finding it easier to minimise their annual taxable expenditure.

Circular 96 also provides detailed instructions for each of its amendments and offers examples for the adoption of these stipulations. In general, the Circular looks to provide substantial advantages to enterprises in terms of their CIT obligations, and represents the attempt of the Vietnamese government to simplify its current administrative procedures. — bizconsult

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