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Big data to help collect tax from foreign service providers

VIETNAM, August 12 - HÀ NÔI — Big data on e-commerce would help the tax watchdog to efficiently collect tax from foreign cross-border IT services providers, according to Nguyễn Bằng Thắng, director of Tax Management Department of Large Enterprises.

Statistics showed that cross-border IT services and social network providers including Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, TikTok and Microsoft, paid around VNĐ4 trillion (US$169.5 million) in taxes in the first half of this year, compared to VNĐ3.5 trillion for the full last year.

The tax that Việt Nam collected on the providers remained modest compared to the revenue of the retail e-commerce market which reached $16.4 billion in 2022, statistics of Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency showed.

It was estimated that Việt Nam’s retail e-commerce market would expand by 25 per cent to hit $20.5 billion this year.

On the e-commerce market, six foreign providers namely Meta (Facebook), Google, Microsoft, TikTok, Netflix and Apple, accounted for about 90 per cent of the revenue on cross-border digital platforms in Việt Nam.

In the field of digital advertising, according to Kantar Media Việt Nam, the revenue on platforms such as Facebook, Youtube and TikTok reached $2.5 billion in 2023 and is forecast at $3.4 billion this year.

Thắng said that the tax watchdog would continue to create favourable conditions for foreign providers and domestic establishments which were seriously developing business in Việt Nam. At the same time, strict punishments would be applied to violations, he stressed.

He added that the tax watchdog regularly cooperated with relevant agencies to analyse risks related to tax declaration of foreign providers and authorised organisations for handling measures. Experiences from other countries, including the US and the EU, showed that the development of big data on e-commerce would be critical to ensure efficiency in tax management on cross-border platforms.

Admitting tax loss in e-commerce, Nguyễn Thị Minh Huyền, deputy director of Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency, said that the legal regulations on tax collection in the industry were still in the process of being improved.

Huyền said that a mechanism for data sharing between relevant management agencies must be raised to prevent cross-border tax loss.

According to Hoàng Văn Cường, deputy of the National Assembly’s Finance – Budget Committee, the focus must be placed on strengthening digital transformation to have an adequate data for easy and efficient tax management.

The Ministry of Finance targeted to increase domestic tax collection by 5-7 per cent in 2024 with one of the focuses on enhancing the efficiency in tax collection from cross-border e-commerce. — VNS