SAV auditor general justifies conclusions on tax arrears of Unilever, Sabeco

The conclusions of the State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) on the forced collection of tax debts from Unilever Vietnam International Co. Ltd. and Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) are reasonable and are not cause for lawsuits, the local media reported, citing SAV auditor general Ho Duc Phoc.

At a discussion held on March 11 on the draft law amending and supplementing some articles of the Law on State Audit, part of the 32nd session of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee, Phoc affirmed that it is baseless to say that SAV’s conclusions are wrong, leading to lawsuits, as SAV had collected evidence about the tax debts of these enterprises from tax agencies, and not from the enterprises themselves.

At a meeting of the NA Standing Committee on February 21 to discuss the draft amended law on tax management, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said that from 2013 to 2018, enterprises filed 14 lawsuits against tax agencies following SAV’s conclusions. The tax agencies lost all 10 cases after going to trial.

The minister placed the responsibility on the SAV.

In response, Phoc said he had assigned the staff to work with the General Department of Taxation.

As for the coercive collection of tax arrears from Unilever Vietnam, Phoc said Unilever Vietnam had submitted documents for an operation extension in the 2009-2013 period and must pay its tax arrears for the extension during such a period.

At first, SAV determined that the firm owed VND882 billion (US$38 million) in corporate income tax.

After the NA Finance and Budget Committee’s direction, the amount was revised to VND575 billion. Unilever Vietnam agreed to pay VND316 billion, while the evidence for the rest was not persuasive enough.

In the Sabeco case, the SAV auditor general said SAV had coordinated with the Government Inspectorate to ask Sabeco to pay VND4.7 trillion as special consumption tax to the State budget and the firm had fulfilled its duty.

However, Sabeco’s undeclared remaining profit was more than VND2.7 trillion, according to SAV’s audit results.

At that time, the Government held an 89.59% stake in Sabeco. As such, SAV proposed to collect VND2.5 trillion in back tax from the corporation.

saigontimes

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