The debate about whether to tax 2-seat Daewoo Matiz and Kia Morning vehicles as vans or passenger cars, which people thought came to and end, has been resumed.
An importer has accused customs agencies of deliberately delaying procedures to put difficulties on the enterprise.
Customs agencies deliberately put difficulties in enterprises’ way
The Hanoi branch of the Tay Bac Automobile Company has lodged a complaint to the General Department of Customs, saying that its import consignment still has not got customs clearance due to the difficulties raised by the customs agencies.
Tay Bac signed a contract with South Korean HWA SEUNG Network Company on importing 26 Daewoo Matiz cars on October 18, 2010. The import consignment has been getting stuck at the port for one year due to the bureaucracy of the Dinh Vu Port’s and the Hai Phong City Customs Agencies.
“We believe that the imports can meet the requirements to be considered as vans. Therefore, despite the argument about taxing vans and the companies’ risk of paying the tax arrears of 34 billion dong at that moment, we still made customs declarations for the clearance of the 26 imported cars,” said Hung, Director of the Hanoi Branch of the Tay Bac Automobile Company.
“However, on October 26, 2010, when we made customs declarations, the customs agency refused to work on our declarations without any explanations,” Hung said.
After a lot of delays, the Hai Phong City Customs Agency showed Tay Bac the document released by the General Department of Customs signed on November 4, 2010, which asked to delay working on the van imports (Matiz brand) until a new decision is made.
Finally, the company successfully made customs declaration. However, it was November 19, 2010, when changes in the tax policies were made. On November 8, 2010, the Ministry of Science and Technology released a document which amends the regulations on the criteria to defining vans and passenger cars.
“If we had successfully made customs declaration in October, we would have been imposed the tax rate applied to vans,” Hung said
Six months later, the Vietnam Register granted a certificate to Tay Bac, affirming that the 26 imported vehicles were vans. However, the Hai Phong City’s Customs Agency continued pending the import consignment of 26 vans.
“The Hai Phong City’s customs agency deliberately delayed the working on our customs declarations, because it wanted to wait for the new policy which it knew would have stricter regulations,” Hung said.
“The deliberate delay of customs agencies without any legitimate reasons has caused big losses to us,” he continued.
The government inspectors, when reporting to the Prime Minister about the import of Matiz brand vehicles, also proposed to tax the 26 vehicles imported by Tay Bac as vans. However, the issue remains on the shelf.
Different strokes for different folks
The involved parties have to continue debating about whether the imports are vans or passenger cars because there is a big gap in the tax rates imposed on the two kinds of vehicles.
If the imports are considered passenger cars, the importer will have to pay the import tax of 82 percent, the luxury tax of 45 percent and the VAT of 10 percent. Meanwhile, if the imports are considered vans, they will not be imposed luxury tax, while the import tax will be much lower. In the case of Tay Bac, the difference in the tax sums would be 60 million dong
The government inspectors, in a report to the Prime Minister, said that before the Vietnamese standards on classifying cars were adjusted, the Ministry of Finance and General Department of Customs agreed that 2-seat Kia Morning and Daewoo Matiz vehicles, 300 kg in weight were considered five seat passenger cars.
However, in the legal document released prior to November 8, 2010, the Vietnam Register certified that these were vans. The disagreement between customs agencies and the Vietnam Register has made enterprises suffer.
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