Thai retail giant Big C coughs up $22 mln in tax arrears

By An Hong   August 3, 2016 | 04:23 pm GMT+7

When the tax man tells you to pay, you pay.

Big C Vietnam, currently controlled by Thailand’s retail giant Central Group, has paid VND500 billion ($22 million) to fulfill its capital gains tax obligations, state media cited an official from the Finance Ministry as saying.

The group had a tax bill of VND2 trillion, so it still owes VND1.5 trillion in taxes, said the ministry.

“Big C has pledged to pay the rest before August 31.” said the official, adding it took time to transfer the funds from Thailand to Vietnam.

France’s Casino Group sold its stake in Big C Vietnam to Central for 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) on April 29, the French retailer said in an online statement.

Last month, after several written reminders, Vietnamese tax authorities warned Central Group it could face a fine of 0.07 percent of its obligations per day for any payment delay over 90 days.

The Vietnamese government offers many foreign investors preferential policies such as a low corporate tax rate of 20 percent as well as tax deferrals or exemptions for set periods of time.

Despite this, tax authorities said they are constantly faced with foreign companies trying to either avoid or evade taxes.

Vietnam's tax authorities collected VND1.9 trillion ($85.6 million) from the $700-million acquisition of Metro Vietnam last year.

German-retailer Metro Cash & Carry, before being sold to Thailand’s TCC International Land, was accused of falsely reporting losses for 12 years in Vietnam and failing to pay tax bills worth $23 million, according to the General Department of Taxation.