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Auditors tell Sabeco to pay up

Update: July, 14/2015 - 08:50
A worker transports beer products at Sai Gon Beer Alcohol Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco)'s Sai Gon – Ninh Thuan Beer Factory in Ninh Thuan Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Cong Thu
HA NOI  (VNS) — State Audit officials said an investigation into Sai Gon Beer Alcohol Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco) reveal-ed gaps in special con-sumption tax policies.

Officials said the watchdog asked for an additional VND408 billion (US$22.02 million) in taxes in 2013.

Truong Thi Viet Huong, director of Regional State Audit Office 4 in HCM City, said that a proposal to amend the law on excise tax has been sent to the Ministry of Finance for consideration.

She confirmed at the conference last week that the case of Sabeco, was not a transfer pricing case.

Recently, after auditing the company, the State Audit proposed that Sabeco pay an additional VND408 billion ($22.02 million) in special consumption tax for 2013, which caused a controversy.

Sabeco, in response to the proposal, said that the company complied with regulations and instructions on filing and paying excise taxes imposed by the General Department of Taxation and the Ministry of Finance.

The company also called for the establishment of detailed instructions for tax filings, adding that it did not know what types of documents to use for calculating excise taxes.

Sabeco distributed its beer products through several intermediaries. First, Sabeco sold its beer to a subsidiary, Sabeco Trading Joint Stock Company, in which it holds a stake of 90 per cent. Then, the subsidiary sold beer products to regional trading companies, before selling to dealers and consumers.

Sabeco's excise tax filing was based on the selling prices of Sabeco Trading Joint Stock Company, while the State Audit said that the excise tax should be calculated based on the selling prices of regional trading companies.

Further, the audit said that regional trading companies were not independent of Sabeco, as Sabeco still held stakes at these companies, and the prices for tax calculations must be the prices of regional trading companies.

According to the current law, the special consumption tax was calculated based upon the end selling prices of producers.

The difference in defining end selling prices for tax calculations led to the proposal to collect additional taxes, indicating a hole in tax policies.

Currently, there are no specific documents regulating special consumption tax calculations for distribution systems like Sabeco.

Nguyen Thi Cuc from the Viet Nam Tax Constancy Association said it was difficult to determine prices for special consumption tax in such cases.

Still, despite regulation gaps, Deputy Chief Auditor Cao Tan Khong, speaking at the conference, said Sabeco must follow the State Audit's proposal of paying additional tax. — VNS

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