The deputy director of the HCM City's Taxation Office, Tran Ngoc Tam, denied in an interview with the newspaper Tuoi Tre (Youth) that his office has been forcing businesses to declare taxes online.
How do you respond to complaints by many firms that your staff have lobbied businesses to declare taxes on-line?
I should say that declaring taxes on-line is an important content in the strategy to modernise the taxation sector. Although it is not compulsory for companies to do this instead of physically going to the tax offices, some tax agencies have reportedly forced them to do so by threatening that they would otherwise inspect their operations. In my opinion, there is a slice of truth in such accusations.
However, upon learning the news, leaders from the city's Taxation Office have ordered all tax agencies at districts or precinct levels to stop forcing firms to declare taxes on-line. They should instruct their staff to encourage the firms to make use of the on-line service to save time, in other words to save money instead of lining up in a long queue to wait their turn to submit tax applications.
Regarding the complaint that a high quota has been given to each local tax agency to increase cases filing declarations on-line, I just want to say that the General Department of Taxation has given a quota (100,000 firms filed their taxes on-line) for the city Taxation Office in 2012.
However, we just received this quota in October. Meanwhile in HCM City we started on-line tax declarations in 2009. So by mid this year, 80,000 enterprises had declared taxes this way. The latest figures show that, by now, 92,000 enterprises have used the on-line service.
As a matter of fact, in whatever campaign we launch, there must be a set target for us to try our best to make it succeed. But, personally I object to any force being used. Under instructions from the city's Party Committee, we encourage companies to declare and pay taxes on-line.
Some enterprises have also complained that they have received telephone calls from telephone companies reminding them that they have not done their tax declarations. Do you think this is a violation against the disclosure of confidential information?
In reality, the one who goes to the taxation office is the accountant, not the employer. The accountant has no power to decide whether the declaration should be done physically or on-line. The decision is made by the employer.
You know, it is not easy to contact the employer or director of a company. So how can the taxation office know what's in the mind the director. In my opinion, the ones who make complaints about the declaration of taxes on-line are the accountants.
According to the latest statistics we have, companies not using the internet-based infrastructure are those employing part-time accountants. The cost of declaring taxes on-line by a company is just VND 1.5 million ($73) per annum. That is not big for any company.
I just want to say that the introduction of electronic signatures have helped us speed up the process of tax declarations and payments on-line. — VNS