Facebook retailers in Hanoi told to pay tax

By VnExpress   June 21, 2017 | 09:44 am GMT+7

Tax collectors have reached out to more than 13,400 businesses, following a similar move by their peers in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Hanoi Department of Taxation has sent text messages to 13,422 Facebook accounts that use the social media network as a retail platform.

The retailers have been urged to go to the department's website to register their businesses and declare tax, Vien Viet Hung, the department's deputy director, said.

So far nearly 2,000 of them have registered and been granted a tax code.

The move came soon after the tax authority in Ho Chi Minh City took similar action.

Le Thi Thu Huong, a municipal tax official, said Ho Chi Minh City has a record of 13,500 retailers on Facebook and that the law only requires those with an annual revenue of VND100 million or $4,400 to declare tax.

Tax officials will also need to figure out how to determine their taxable income, Huong said, noting that cash transactions are difficult to track.

But both officials and experts have admitted that it would be extremely difficult to collect tax from Facebook retailers.

Nguyen Thi Cuc, who chairs the Vietnam Tax Consultants' Association, told VnExpress that Vietnam’s tax policy for online businesses is incomplete and that it's a challenge when most transactions are still in cash.

Vietnam is also struggling to monitor the business activities of transnational corporations like Facebook and Google, she added.