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Vehicle importers accelerate growth

Update: March, 07/2013 - 00:00

HA NOI — The number of cars imported into Viet Nam as a movable asset of overseas Vietnamese who repatriate the country had increased sharply in the last two years.

"This reveals a loop-hole in current regulations," said deputy head of the Viet Nam General Department Customs (GDC), Nguyen Van Can.

Under Circular No 118/2009/TT-BTC that took effect in 2009, overseas Vietnamese who repatriate may import one currently-used private car without paying import tax or VAT.

Under current regulations, import taxes range from 72-82 per cent of the car's value, and VAT is ten per cent. Car users also have to pay a special consumption tax which is 30 per cent of the vehicle's value.

Prior to 2010, there were on average 38 cars of this kind being imported into Viet Nam each year. However, from November 2011 to the end of 2012, over 1,200 cars from overseas were imported as movable assets.

"This is unusual," Can said, adding that another strange point was the cars were imported via minor border gates in remote provinces including Thai Nguyen, Lao Cai, Dak Lak and Long An.

Most of them were luxury or super cars.

Can noted that in mid-2011, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued circular, restricting the import of luxury items including new cars with less than nine seats.

The circular stated that many luxury cars, especially those that did not have official distributors in Viet Nam, were not allowed to enter the country.

Viet Nam has recently slackened restrictions on policies recognising overseas Vietnamese under the Law on Residence, allowing them to have dual-nationality for the first time.

"It's a loop-hole in current regulations that automobile importers and traders make use of to evade taxes," Can said.

According to the general department's Anti-smuggling Investigation Department, their initial investigations found that overseas Vietnamese were taking advantage of the policy to import luxury and super cars.

Can said that the general department of customs had asked the Finance Ministry to revise import requirements and those eligible for tax related incentives.

More criteria would be taken into account including the minimum period of time overseas Vietnamese possess foreign nationalities and their average income.

Customs officers were co-operating with police to examine documents relating to the issue, Can said, noting that any detected violators would be strictly punished. — VNS

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