Dec 7, 2012

Vietnam - Taxing with an even hand

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Bui Van Nam, chief of the General Department of Taxation, talks to VIR about the tax sector’s constant efforts to ease tax obligations for businesses and individuals  and boost governance efficiency.

The tax sector has had many operating slogans and in the recent past unveiled a declaration manifesting its commitment to hiking tax management efficiency. Would you bring some more light to this?

In handling tax oversight functions the tax sector has come up with several slogans such as ‘Collecting taxes properly, fully and timely’ or ‘Paying tax is the right and obligation of every citizen.”. These slogans have generated practical effects.

However, in the context of economic globalisation, the Vietnam Tax Sector Declaration would reflect the sector’s true value as well as its long-term vision.

The Declaration means the tax sector’s commitment before the Party, the state, organizations, individuals and the society. Issuing the Declaration requires each member in the tax sector to try their best to realise committed values while also serving as a base to help taxpayers and the society handle their obligation and oversight functions to hike governance efficiency.

In the Declaration, we vow to become ‘a trustworthy partner to all businesses and individuals when handling tax commitments’ and ‘striving to turn Vietnam into a leading country in ASEAN in tax facilitation’.

It seems that the tax sector strives to ‘regain’ scores in the eyes of international financial organizations with launching the Declaration. Is it true?

In the Doing Business 2013 Report released by the World Bank and its International Finance Corporation (IFC), each business in Vietnam spends 872 hours per year for handling tax relevant procedures and pays taxes 32 times per year. Also under the report, Vietnam was placed 138th out of 185 countries and territories in respect to tax facilitation.

Compared to 2012, Vietnam moved up 15 notches as in 2012 we ranked 153rd out of 185 countries but we was still in the ninth place among ASEAN countries.

Thereby, in the Declaration, the tax sector strives to be named among top five countries in ASEAN by 2015 and among top four by 2020 in tax facilitation pursuing prime minister’s approved tax system reform strategy during 2011-2020.

Vietnam aims to be included among top five countries in ASEAN in tax facilitation within the next three years. Is the target too ambitious?

The task is hard, so that the tax sector has ramped up efforts to reform tax management and policies to fine-tune international practices. We simplified and made open and transparent over 350 tax administrative procedures at all levels. Consequently, we moved up 15 notches in the global ranking in the WB’s Doing Business 2013 Report against 2012.

Parallel to revising the Value Added Tax Law and Corporate Income Tax Law, the Law on Tax Administration and Personal Income Tax Law amended version becoming effective from July 1, 2013 matches the tax sector’s commitment to accelerating tax reform pace.

Besides, the Declaration featuring transparency, professionalism, probity and innovation would pave the way for the sector to achieve its set target.

Manh Bon |

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