In 2021, the fourth outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected local budget revenue. In that context, the Long An tax sector still made every effort to overcome difficulties, implemented many consistent, drastic and effective tax management solutions and successfully completed assigned political tasks to lead the Mekong Delta region in budget revenue. With this success, Long An Tax Department reaffirmed itself as a leader in organizational apparatus reform, tax modernization, budget revenue growth and strong local financial system construction.
Strong support for enterprises to overcome difficulties
Long An province was a pandemic center of southern provinces during the fourth wave of COVID-19 in 2021. The pandemic adversely affected all aspects of people's lives, enterprises’ business operations, as well as the tax sector’s budget revenue collection. Mr. Nguyen Van Thuy, Director of the Long An Tax Department, said that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decline of nearly VND5,000 billion in tax and budget revenue in 2021, equivalent to 30% of the total tax revenue of Long An province.
Despite facing those difficulties and challenges, the Long An tax sector still successfully achieved its budget revenue of VND14,447 billion in 2021, equal to 118.7% of the target assigned by the central government and 114.8 % of the target set by the Provincial People’s Committee, thus further reaffirming its leadership in Mekong Delta region by budget revenue. "For a province heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic like Long An, with the great endeavor of the tax industry and the business community, and the support of all-level governments, the achieved outcomes are applaudable. Leaders of the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee promptly recognized and praised the achievements of the tax sector and its employees for their great efforts in advising and carrying out tax work in 2021 and making great contributions to budget revenue collection,” he said.
To achieve this success, right from the first days of the year, Long An Tax Department was well prepared and promptly implemented tax collection management tasks and solutions, based on socioeconomic development tasks and solutions set for 2021, thus supporting taxpayers to overcome difficulties and challenges and strengthening tax authorities to administer and prevent tax loss. The department actively advised the Provincial Party Committee on directives strengthening Party leadership in tax collection in 2021, consulted the Provincial People's Committee on decisions establishing a steering committee delegated to press on tax collection in 2021; and counseled all-level Party committees and local authorities to urge budget revenue collection.
The Department of Taxation held monthly work meetings to promptly resolve and remove existing and emerging difficulties and problems. It assigned monthly collection plans to its affiliates to collect revenue, prevent any loss and retrieve overdue tax. The tax sector also focused on strengthening tax management, declaration and accounting; closely monitored and evaluated the “health” and performance of local enterprises, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak which adversely hurt them. To clear difficulties for enterprises and people affected by the pandemic, and gradually recover and boost business operations, the department applied many support solutions and policies that extended the tax and land rent payment deadlines; exempted and reduced taxes, fees, charges and land rents approved by the lawmaking National Assembly, the Government and the Prime Minister in Resolution 68/NQ-CP, Decision 23/2021/QD-TTg, Resolution 406/NQ-UBTVQH15, Decree 52/2021/ND-CP, and Decision 27/2021/QD-TTg.
The Long An Tax Department also studied and proposed the General Department of Taxation consider not imposing sanctions on late-submitted tax declarations during the social distancing period, which was approved by the General Department of Taxation. Besides, the department further reformed and simplified administrative procedures, modernized and digitized all tax administration stages, from tax registration, declaration and payment to tax refund, risk management and overdue tax management, to provide favorable conditions for businesses and taxpayers. To date, over 99% of enterprises have registered electronic tax declarations and over 98% have registered electronic tax payments. 98% of tax payment invoices are electronic and 98% of tax value is paid electronically. All figures are higher than those expected by the General Department of Taxation. The Long An tax sector also completed 100% of VAT refund documents and extended tax payment of VND620 billion of policy support, a part of support for business recovery, a move seen to help build strong finance for the locality.
Determined to fulfill 2020 tasks
Speaking of budget collection tasks in 2022, Director Nguyen Van Thuy said, as the COVID-19 pandemic is still developing complicatedly and unpredictably in Vietnam and the world and negatively affecting all aspects of social and economic life, enterprises will confront a lot of difficulties in business. As a result, State budget revenue is forecast to be hit in 2022. However, given its successful experience since 2021, the Long An Tax Department expects to complete and exceed budgetary revenue targets in 2022 assigned by the Ministry of Finance, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee.
Accordingly, the Tax Department will closely follow the directions of the Ministry of Finance, the General Department of Taxation, the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee; and thoroughly work with all-tier governmental agencies and mass organizations to speed up State budget collection. The department will continue to advise all-level Party committees, local authorities and the Steering Committee to urge budget collection, prevent tax loss and recover taxes in arrears. It will implement new tax policies, especially mechanisms and policies, to support enterprises and their employees to overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic; closely monitor business activities and focus on promptly assisting and dealing with difficulties and obstacles for taxpayers.
In 2022, the Long An Tax Department will also continue to reform and modernize the tax system, simplify tax administrative procedures, improve the quality of electronic tax declaration, payment and refund services, hence ensuring the information technology system will work smoothly around the clock to support taxpayers to fulfill their obligations to State budget without having to go directly to tax offices to reduce working time and enabling taxpayers to fulfill their tax obligations.
Never allowing taxpayers to exploit tax support policies to evade their tax obligations, the Long An Tax Department will promptly and effectively adopt solutions to tax collection management, tax loss prevention, transfer pricing, tax evasion and overdue tax recovery. It will strengthen tax inspection and examination, prevent revenue loss and tax fraud, particularly high-risk areas like an incentivized investment; real estate business, equity transfer; affiliated trading, and trading with foreign contractors. The department will focus more drastically on tax debt collection, regularly and continuously monitor tax obligations of taxpayers; work out plans to collect overdue tax, carry out coercive tax collection, and reduce tax arrears.
By Cong Luan, Vietnam Business Forum