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Tax debt management: Which regulations should be revised?

15:49 | 28/03/2017

VCN- Regarding tax debt management and taxpayer information management, enforcement of tax administrative decisions during the implementation of Tax Administration Law No. 78/2006/QH11 and guiding documents, all provinces and cities said that there should be a proper remission mechanism for tax debts and modifications to suit reality.

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Customs operations at the Thai Nguyen Customs Branch (under the Bac Ninh Customs Department). Photo: Thu Trang.

According to Customs Departments of provinces and cities, the management of tax debts has been implemented in accordance with the Law on Tax Administration and relevant Decrees and Circulars guiding the implementation of the Law. The classification of tax debts and the collection of tax arrears are carried out under the process of State management on tax arrears, late payment and fines for imports and exports. Accordingly, Customs Branches have implemented many measures to enforce tax administrative decisions in order to fully collect tax arrears. Also, Customs Branches has actively given solutions to collect tax debts such as Organizing, monitoring and managing taxpayers and fines; and regularly urging enterprises to pay taxes before the application of coercive measures.

However, the management of tax debts and the collection of tax arrears faced many difficulties due to ineffective coordination among functional agencies and loopholes in regulations on tax debt management.

The Ha Tinh Customs Department said that the implementation of measures to collect tax debts could not reach high results due to inconsistent coordination among State authorities and weak sanctions.

Responsibility of relevant agencies should be enhanced

With regard to the above problems, some provincial Customs Departments said that Article 44 of Decree No. 83/2013/ND-CP stipulated the responsibility of State agencies in providing information and documents for tax administration agencies and vice versa. However, the provision of information is only made when tax authorities request, but tax authorities cannot know exactly which State agencies they should ask for information. For example, enterprises often open many accounts at commercial banks in different localities, but tax authorities do not know which banks these enterprises opened the bank account to ask for information. Therefore, it is necessary to have a legal document to specify the responsibility of commercial banks to notify the tax authorities (Customs Departments or Taxation Departments) when enterprises open a bank account.

In addition, the Quang Ninh Customs Department recommended that there should be clear guidance for Customs authorities in the case where they cannot receive information on the assets and property of enterprises.

One of the most recommended issues from provincial and municipal Customs Departments is the regulation on tax debt relief. Accordingly, the Lang Son Customs Department recommended that the competent agencies should issue more legal documents on the enforcement of administrative decisions and coercive measures to enhance the responsibility of State agencies, organizations and individuals. Also, it is necessary to amend and supplement legal documents related to the dissolution, bankruptcy and business suspension in order to prevent tax evasion and evasion of tax violations during Customs post-clearance audits.

In particular, it is necessary to reconsider the provisions on tax debt relief, and the application of the coercive measures prescribed at Point b, c and d in Clause 1, Article 93 of the Law on Tax Administration. Accordingly, Customs authorities faced many difficulties due to the above complicated regulations.

Cases for tax debt relief to be expanded

The Lang Son Customs Department has also proposed to implement tax debt relief for cases lasting over 10 years.

Also, representatives of the Dong Nai Customs Department and the Khanh Hoa Customs Department said that the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Vietnam Customs should amend regulations on tax debt collection and fines less than 10 years, especially when Customs officers has fully applied the measures to enforce the tax administration but they cannot collect the money.

According to the Binh Duong Customs Department and the Ha Noi Customs Department, although the Law on Tax Administration has stipulated a number of cases subject to tax debt relief but it cannot cover all problems arising in practice. For example, many enterprises have had tax debts for more than 10 years, but Customs officers can not apply all coercive measures under the Law because these enterprises have been approved by competent authorities (such as the Department of Planning and Investment, the Industrial Zones Management Board and the provincial People's Committee) to terminate their operations before the effective date of the Law (1st July 2006).

As a result, the Binh Duong Customs Department and the Ha Noi Customs Department jointly recommended that there should be an appropriate mechanism for remission of tax debts, simplification of the process of tax debt relief, late payment and fines for bankrupt enterprises to prevent loss of budget, reducing pressure, time and efforts of tax authorities.

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It can be seen that the mechanism for remission of tax arrears and tax debts is a necessary solution, which has been proposed by all provincial and municipal Customs Departments. Accordingly, most Customs Departments have proposed to implement tax debt relief for cases lasting over 10 years when tax authorities have applied coercive measures which are not effective.

By Thu Trang/ Hoang Anh