Finance Ministry answers tax and customs issues

Wednesday, Sep 09, 2015 15:28

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Tuan Anh has chaired a dialogue between the ministry, customs and tax administrations and representatives from the Viet Nam Business Forum, a network connecting Vietnamese and international companies from 16 chambers of commerce and business associations.

The dialogue covered issues in the implementation of tax policies, double tax treaties between Viet Nam and 72 countries, and Viet Nam's roadmap for regional customs policies.

Foreign companies raised specific issues in the implementation of double taxation agreements that Viet Nam has signed with 72 countries, issues including disagreements between local tax administrations and tax authorities of foreign countries on matters regarding residency, permanent establishment for companies providing services, agency, sales at bonded warehouse, on-the-spot import export, e-business, indirect share transfer, beneficial ownership, copyright and loan interest.

National and foreign experts shared their viewpoints and insights on international practices, particularly practices in Asia regarding these issues. Companies also addressed problems relating to investment protection, investment expansion and deduction of input value added tax.

The ministry noted the recommendations and feedback from companies and showed a willingness to answer and resolve problems that companies are encountering. In particular the ministry encouraged and promoted e-business activities, an economic trend in Viet Nam. The ministry stated that it is actively and carefully researching international practices and tax policies in this area.

The MOF, the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Viet Nam customs listened to the concern of the companies and offered solutions and specific instructions. In addition, they took note of the recommendations submitted by companies for future amendments for better implementation of tax, customs policies, and for future negotiations with countries when it comes to double taxation agreements.

One topic of interest during the dialogue was the issue related to the offset of losses of other business activities against the income from real estate. Multi-sector enterprises whose business activities include real estate as also the experts believed that tax regulations should make possible offsetting losses against gains from other business activities since this will help recover bad debts, reduce administrative procedures for companies in accounting income from real estate and property transfers, create a fair business environment for multi-sector enterprises and promote economic growth.

The ministry re-affirmed that they have consulted with related ministries and departments and are researching tax practices and policies in the region. They said they will continue to draft related amendments to be submitted to the National Assembly.

"This dialogue between the ministry, the tax authorities and businesses showcases the ministry's concern about relevant issues, including implementation of investment, tax and customs policies for foreign investors. The precise guidance made available to relevant authorities and businesses encourages foreign investment, contributes towards creating a stable legal and taxation system and increases trust in Viet Nam's economic environment," Sambuy Constantino, representative of VBF Tax Working Group said.

Huong Vu, head of VBF Tax Working Group and partner at the EY Viet Nam, said the ministry was very open to discussion so that businesses are not negatively affected due to any policy implementation issues.

"We highly appreciate the move to continue the dialogue between the ministry and VBF so that issues affecting business operations can be dealt with in a timely manner. This reflects the government's will to improve Viet Nam's business environment, where tax and customs policies are key elements."

Tuan appreciated the connections that VBF is creating and their feedback regarding amendments in policies, and stated that businesses as well as VBF can send official letters to the ministry requesting direct guidance to relevant agencies such as the General Department of Tax, the General Department of Viet Nam Customs and the Department of Corporate Finance so that issues can be resolved in a timely manner in the interest of businesses.

He welcomed the initiatives and activities of the VBF and urged the Forum, the related member associations and businesses to share the responsibility to improve Viet Nam's economic environment, make business conditions favourable and enhance law and policy compliance. – VNS

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