Việt Nam to prohibit those with unpaid taxes from leaving country

May 29, 2024 - 10:05
Vietnamese authorities will crack down on tax evasion by implementing strict measures to ensure that individuals and businesses fulfill their tax payment obligations.
A tax official assists a man in filling out his tax returns in the capital city of Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY — Vietnamese authorities will crack down on tax evasion by implementing strict measures to ensure individuals and businesses fulfill their tax payment obligations.

Minister of Finance Hồ Đức Phớc has issued a directive stating that "those who have outstanding tax debts will not be allowed to leave the country until their debts are settled."

The government is focused on recovering tax debts, particularly in land use and lease taxes, to maintain state budget revenue, he said.

“To address the increasing tax debt issue, timely enforcement measures are needed,” he said.

In order to facilitate debt recovery, the tax authority will publicise information about negligent taxpayers in the media and work closely with other agencies to effectively enforce tax laws.

In addition, a steering committee has been established at the local level to determine recovery measures for taxpayers with large debts.

Experts attribute the rise in tax debt to multiple factors such as global economic uncertainties, political instability, and natural disasters, leading to financial challenges for individuals and businesses.

As of the end of last year, the total amount of debt managed by the tax authority was nearly VNĐ164 trillion, up nearly 11 per cent year-on-year.

Previously, authorities had banned the chairman of Trung Nam Group, a major hydroelectricity and renewable energy producer, from leaving the country due to its tax debts of VNĐ21 billion ($840,000).

High-income earners targeted

The General Department of Taxation is also urging individuals earning income through international e-commerce and social media platforms to fulfill their tax obligations.

High-income individuals in such sectors as marketing, IT, service industries, digital commerce, and social media have been found to owe billions of Vietnamese đồng in taxes.

Tax authorities in Hà Nội have identified more than 460 individuals with significant earnings from these platforms, with more to be added to the list.

In HCM City, the authorities are also reaching out to users of Google, Facebook, and YouTube who have not reported income or paid taxes.

Those on the list may face fines in addition to back taxes for their attempts at evading taxes.

Numerous YouTubers have already been told to pay substantial amounts in income tax and penalties for their failure to disclose earnings in previous years. — VNS