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PM urges tax sector to continue with reforms

Workers wearing masks while working at KHVATEC Co Ltd in Điềm Thụy Industrial Park in the northern province of Thái Nguyên. As businesses are suffering adverse impacts because of the COVID-19 epidemic, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has directed the Ministry of Finance to scrutinise and issue policies to postpone or extend tax payments for affected companies.

HÀ NỘI Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Wednesday praised the tax sector for reshuffling working apparatus, and urged it to continue with reforms to better serve taxpayers.

He was speaking at a conference to announce the completion of the sector’s plan to streamline the tax offices, merging 711 offices into 415, ten months ahead of deadline. Finance Minister Đinh Tiến Dũng reported the work was done through merging district-level tax offices into regional units controlled by provincial-level tax departments. He said the new offices have operated smoothly, causing no difficulties to tax payers.

PM Phúc said despite the reduction, the tax sector still surpassed the assigned collection target by 9.3 per cent to gain a total tax revenue of VNĐ1.27 quadrillion (US$55.21 billion) in 2019. At the same time, the tax collection of all 63 provinces and cities exceeded the plans for the first time.

He attributed the success to the sector’s reforms in streamlining legal regulations and applying technology.

“We have recently seen rapid, strong and dramatic changes in tax administrative reforms. A total of 78 per cent of tax payers satisfied with the tax sector in 2019, compared with 75 per cent previous year,” Phúc said.

The success should be an example for other sectors to follow suit, especially when the whole country is striving to meet the dual targets of constraining the COVID-19 epidemic and achieving economic growth, the PM said.

As businesses are suffering adverse impacts because of the epidemic, Phúc also directed the Ministry of Finance to scrutinise and issue policies to postpone or extend tax payments for affected companies.

He required the tax sector to continue making reforms in applying technology, modernizing tax management methods and improving administrative procedures to facilitate conditions for local people and enterprises to exercise their responsibility for the State budget.

Phúc set the goal for the tax sector to cut another 10 per cent of the current 304 administrative procedures this year. He stressed the task for the sector to surpass tax collection target by 5 per cent this year, explaining despite the COVID-19 epidemic, Việt Nam had performed well in containing the virus, and production and businesses were likely to recover in the second quarter.

In addition, the PM said, the sector must set a target of up 7-10 places to ease tax payments in the World Bank’s Doing Business upcoming report.

In the latest WB’s report released last year, Việt Nam ranked 109th out of 190 countries and territories on ease of paying taxes, up 22 places from the previous report, as the country made paying taxes easier by upgrading the information technology infrastructure used by the General Department of Taxation.

The ranking was measured by the four component indicators - number of tax payments, tax payment time, total tax rate and post-filing index (VAT refunds and corporate income tax audits).

According to the report, Việt Nam is expected to see improvements in most of the indicators in 2020 compared to last year.

Time spent on tax payment would be cut from 498 hours last year to 384 hours this year. Meanwhile, the total number of tax payments will be reduced from 10 in 2019 to six this year and total tax rate is said to drop 0.2 per cent to 37.6 per cent in 2020.

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