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Businesses debate thorny taxation issues

Update: November, 11/2013 - 10:02
Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Property Association, first pointed out that the new incentives had benefited firms, as they can now offer a 50 per cent VAT reduction on house rentals and sales of houses of under 70 sq.m and priced at under VND15 million per sq.m.— File Photo

by Le Hung Vong

Representatives from 600 local businesses, along with experts at the Finance Ministry and the Viet Nam Chamber of Industry and Commerce (VCCI), met at a conference in HCM City last Thursday to discuss several contentious issues, including VAT return procedures, tax reductions for property firms, corporate tax reductions and e-customs formalities.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Property Association, first pointed out that the new incentives had benefited firms, as they can now offer a 50 per cent VAT reduction on house rentals and sales of houses of under 70 sq.m and priced at under VND15 million per sq.m.

He also lauded a 10 per cent cut in corporate income tax for developers of projects for poor residents.

Nguyen Van Be, deputy chairman of the Association of HCM City's IP Enterprises, also praised the new e-customs but noted that transmission lines remained slow and unstable.

Business executives at the meeting, however, decried the harassment they suffered from tax and customs officers, pointing at conflicting views among State agencies, which confuses companies about how to best perform procedures.

Nguyen Viet Hung, an executive in charge of export sales at the HCM City-based private company Minh Luan (which imports secondhand tractors from Japan and repairs them before re-exporting them), criticised the different views among tax officers on giving tax refunds or not to companies.

Before engaging in business, for example, Minh Luan was informed by the Management and Supervision Department of the General Customs Department that the company was allowed tax refunds, but the Import-Export Tax Department later said such commodities were not subject to tax refunds.

Duy Anh Fashion and Cosmetic Co. complained that last November it filed forms to get tax refunds of VND25 billion.

Its applications were assessed twice by the tax authorities, he said. However, the company recently received a reply that no tax refund was given because of the company's large stockpile of commodities.

Responding to the complaints, Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan admitted that local customs and tax agencies had not addressed issues faced by enterprises.

In the case of Minh Luan that imports tractors for re-export, the instruction from the Management and Supervision Department was correct, said Tuan. He ordered that the Import-Export Tax Department quickly refund taxes to Minh Luan.

Similarly, Duy Anh should also receive tax refunds quickly and agencies would have to pay the interest for any delayed refunds, said Tuan.

He explained that the regulation on cancelling tax refunds for large stockpiles would take effect next year.

Flood delays winter crop

Local farmers say they must begin planting the winter-spring rice crop late this year because flood water levels are expected to be higher and recede later than usual this year, according to forecasts from the provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

Farmers have prepared to cultivate 1.6 million ha under paddy fields for the coming 2013-14 winter-spring crop.

In Can Tho City's districts of Thoi Lai, Co Do and Vinh Thanh, farmers have already bought fertilisers and other materials for the new crop.

Pham Van Quynh, director of Can Tho's Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, said the city would cultivate 87,800 ha under the winter-spring crop under a strict schedule to avoid pestilent insects.

"To link farming with product consumption and to raise farmers' income were now the number-one task of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta's agricultural sector," Quynh told Viet Nam News last week.

An Giang Province is expected to cultivate 234,000 ha under this year's winter-spring crop.

Nguyen Huu An, chief of An Giang Plant Protection Division, said farmers in the province had been advised to use selective rice varieties such as Jasmine, OM 2517, OM 4218, OM 5451 and OM 7347.

Meanwhile, farmers in Dong Thap Province were pumping out water from their rice fields and strengthening embankments for 205,000 ha under the coming 2013-14 winter-spring crop.

Ngo Van Khuong, a farmer from Tan My Commune of Dong Thap Province's Lap Vo District, said he had bought materials a month earlier when prices of these materials were lower.

Firms boost sales to UK

The UK, Hong Kong and Cambodia have become major importers of Vietnamese goods, with export turnover in the first nine months of the year ranging between US$1.89 billion and $2.41 billion.

Exports to the UK were higher than the $2.398 billion of Vietnamese goods imported in 2011, and are expected to reach $3.85 billion in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 26.9 per cent.

Fifteen products sold by Viet Nam to the UK have attained export turnover of over $10 million, including telephones and components ($994 million); footwear ($400 million); textiles and garments ($351 million); and computers and components ($313 million).

Local firms expect bigger sales to the UK, with a population of 63.2 million and total import turnover of $833 billion in the same period.

In the first nine months of the year, 13 Vietnamese products earned export turnover of more than $10 million to Hong Kong, including cameras and components ($783.4 million); telephones and components ($633.4 million); computers, electronics and components ($292.6 million); and machinery and equipment ($262.4 million).

Per capita imports in Hong Kong of Vietnamese goods was valued at $535 this year, up from $522 in 2012.

In 2013, Vietnamese firms also target exports of $3.8 billion to Hong Kong, which has a population of over 7.1 million.

However, Viet Nam's exports account for only 5 per cent of Hong Kong's total imports of about $80 billion in 2013.

This year Viet Nam has also targeted exports of over $3 billion to Cambodia, which has a population of 15 million.

Thirty-one products exported from Viet Nam to Cambodia registered turnover of $10 million, including fuel ($467 million); steel of various types ($337 million); fertilisers ($157 million); and textile and garments ($185 million).

Other exports to Cambodia include machinery, equipment and accessories, confectionery, seafood, coffee, paper, porcelain; electric wires and cables; means of transportation and accessories; and telephones and components. — VNS

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