Grab drivers want to put the brakes on tax

September 10, 2019 - 17:16
Grab drivers say they pay too much tax – and are calling on government officials to reduce the amount.


Grab drivers in Hà Nội. Many in the capital city believe the tax threshold needs to be increased. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Grab drivers say they pay too much tax – and are calling on government officials to reduce the amount.

Around 100 drivers met with tax officials last week and delivered a petition claiming the amount they pay is too much.

Drivers who earn VNĐ100 million (US$4,300) annually must pay 4.5 per cent of their revenue in taxes.

The petition was organised by 50-year-old Hoàng Mi Sên from HCM City who feels this amount is unreasonable.

He said those who drive on two wheels instead of four have more challenges and should be given a tax reduction.

“Two-wheel driver face higher risks of traffic accidents,” said Sên, who has been driving for the app-based company for five months and has been a motorbike taxi driver for more than five years.

“We face more problems than other forms of transportation such as buses or cars. We face extreme weather, environmental pollution, smog, toxic emissions that led to a much higher risk of occupational diseases than drivers of other means of transport.”

Sên said drivers should be earning VNĐ150 million ($6,450) instead of the current VNĐ100 million($4,300) before they pay income tax.

Many other drivers agree with Sên.

Speaking on the Facebook page, Hà Nội Grab Driver Community, many voiced their opinions about the amount they pay in tax.

Dương Thành, whose sons are aged 11 and five, said: “I earn VNĐ9 million ($390) per month and it is just too hard to afford the schooling of my two sons. With the tax, how can I manage? ”

Thành, in cầu Giấy District, Hà Nội added: “I also hope they will raise the income tax exemption limit. Now it is in HCM City, but if they apply it there, it should be applied in Hà Nội soon.”

Some drivers even asked for complete removal of such tax on motorbike taxi driver as they were already in the "bottom of society" income.

Since their income is considered business revenue rather than salary, ride-hail drivers will not enjoy tax reduction based on family dependents, which is pegged at VNĐ3.6 million ($155) per month for each qualified dependent, for their personal income tax.

Sên’s petition was passed to other drivers to sign for support. He told his colleagues they need to fight for change from Government. 

On August 26, Grab started collecting a fixed sum of VNĐ60,000 ($2.6) daily from drivers, whom it estimates have an annual income of VNĐ100 million or higher, to fulfil its tax obligations on their behalf.

After facing immediate opposition, Grab cancelled the collections the next day.

“[We] will also refund any amount already collected to the e-wallets of these partner drivers,” Grab said in the statement on August 27.

At the meeting, Nguyễn Văn Thiện - Head of Public Relation Department of HCM City Tax Department confirmed they instructed Grab to collect taxes according to the law, adding “however, if there are unsuitable points, we will listen, record then make recommendations to the General Department of Taxation, the Government to change for better tax policy.”

Grab representative also said they always did their best to obey the local laws and also work with the tax authorities to find a softer tax solution for its driver partners.

There are more than 400,000 drivers riding with three major ride-hailing firms of Grab, Go-Viet and Be.  — VNS