Government and tax reform head discussions at CEO forum on March 20.
The government should dramatically renew existing mechanisms to accelerate economic growth, experts told Vietnam Economic Times’ CEO forum entitled “Creating a Fair and Transparent Business Environment” on March 20.
The government took many steps in renewing mechanisms in 2014 to improve competitive capacity, economic expert Dr. Le Dang Doanh said, via issuing Decree No. 19, on solutions for bolstering national competitive ability with a focus on improving the business environment, on March 12, 2015, and amending laws such as the Law on Enterprises, the Law the Investment, and the Law on Housing.
Change in government thinking, he went on, is evidenced by it not comparing Vietnam to what it was 30 years ago but comparing it to other ASEAN countries. Vietnam still needs to amend and add more laws, he added, to expand business rights, minimize legal risks, ensure the safety of property, guarantee fair competition, improve market order, and control monopolies.
He also spoke of inconsistencies in legislation. For example, Article No. 159 in the Penal Code on illegal business activities is no longer suitable with the Law on Enterprises 2014. “I expect the government will soon conduct internal reform, identifying shortcomings and addressing them and encouraging innovation,” Dr. Doanh said.
Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Mr. Vu Tien Loc, heralded the introduction of Decree No. 19. He added that the government has asked VCCI to cooperate with enterprise associations and sectoral associations on deeper reform in the future.
Time taken for submitting tax returns and awaiting final assessments being shortened to less than 121.5 and 119 hours in 2015 and 2016, respectively, under Decree No. 19, were highlighted by Mr. Cao Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the General Department of Taxation (GDT), as being a major reform by the government. Moreover, the government was trying to meet the standards of ASEAN-4 administrative reform in three new matters: tax reimbursement, tax assessment, and processing disputed tax assessments.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the World Bank said that, as at January 1, 2015, the time taken by Vietnamese enterprises on tax matters had been reduced by about 370 hours, cut by eight-fold for lodging returns and paying value added tax, and by four-fold for lodging corporate tax returns.
Regarding modernizing the collection of taxes, the GDT has accelerated the pace of the project renewing tax mechanisms and electronic tax payments to save enterprises’ time and money and reduced the time GDT worked with enterprises, Mr. Tuan Anh said.
As at December 12, 2014, 97 per cent of enterprises were conducting electronic tax payments, and by February 27, 2015, 24,000 enterprises from 18 of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces were doing so.
The GDT is making efforts to publish information on tax procedures on its website, enhancing communication, supporting taxpayers, and maintaining its feedback system, Mr. Tuan Anh added.
These activities are the “political mission” of the department, he said.
- CEO forum