Income tax refunds mired in red tape

By Phuong Dung   June 5, 2024 | 12:15 am PT
Income tax refunds mired in red tape
The official tax app eTax Mobile is seen on a smartphone. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Dung
The procedures for claiming a tax refund is too complicated for many taxpayers, so much so that some prefer to forgo the money altogether to avoid the hassles.

An individual without dependents can claim a refund if their income does not exceed VND132 million (US$5,193) a year.

Tran Tuyet Minh in Hanoi has two sources of income from two companies but only one of them gave her the documents she needed to claim a refund.

But the tax office rejected her refund claim because some figures did not match.

Minh is now trying to get the documents she needs from the other company, failing which she will not be eligible for a refund.

Claiming a tax refund is difficult, with lack of documents being the main cause, Nguyen Hue, an accounting consultant, said.

A refund typically takes six to 40 days, but many people have to resubmit papers and therefore the duration is prolonged, she said.

Choosing the right tax office to make a refund request is also important or else the process has to be carried out again and this could take months or even a year, she added.

Another issue taxpayers face is having two tax IDs issued by two different companies.

Nga recently found out she has another tax ID issued by her company when she received a new ID card in 2016 as part of a government’s scheme to upgrade citizens’ ID cards.

This means she has to cancel the old tax ID, and this requires a lot of paperwork.

Bui Hien in Hanoi also has two tax IDs and she has to re-register her phone number with tax authorities so she can enter an app called eTax Mobile to remove the old ID.

Mai Son, deputy head of the General Department of Taxation, said people with two tax IDs would soon have no issues since all data would be incorporated in their IDs.

Some people use third-party services to save themselves the trouble of claiming refunds.

Tran Thai Ha, who works for a telecoms company but has other sources of income, uses a service provider for a fee of VND2 million to claim a refund.

"Last year I was fined for paying less, and so this year I would rather pay for the service," he said.

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