Many businesses in Thanh Phu District of Ben Tre Province have recently expressed outrage after discovering that the provincial and district’s people’s committee have preferentially allowed a seafood company to delay paying a huge amount of value-added tax over a long time.
Minh Tien Co currently owes VND12 billion worth of VAT tax it had to pay in 2011, according to Vo Van Anh, deputy head of Ben Tre Tax Agency.
Earlier it had asked for an extension on the total tax of VND15 billion, saying its customers had yet to clear their payments.
The company later paid VND3 billion, said Anh, who admitted that Minh Tien Co is not eligible for any tax deferral as per laws.
“However, as the district standing communist party committee, as well as the Thanh Phu District’s and Ben Tre Province’s people’s committees, have sent a document ordering the tax agency to approve the deferral, we have extended the taxpaying time to the beginning of the first quarter of this year,” he said.
However, it is now six months since the deadline, and Minh Tien Co has yet to clear their liability, while the said committees have also done nothing to prompt them to pay.
Tuoi Tre went to Thanh Phu’s people’s committee on June 11, but Vo Van Tien, head of the district’s people’s committee’s secretariat, said the person responsible for the issue will not be available to meet until the end of this month.
According to a source close to Tuoi Tre, on October 4, 2011, Bui Van Lam, chair of Thanh Phu’s people’s committee, chaired a meeting to approve a deferral for Minh Tien Co from June to August 2011 on its VND14 billion VAT tax.
In a meeting a month later, the district standing communist party committee proposed to delay the taxpaying of some businesses to early 2012. The proposal was approved by the province’s people’s committee on January 12.
But Minh Tien Co has since refused to repay their taxes.
Anh, of the tax agency, said he will order the agency in Thanh Phu district to handle the case as per tax laws.
Minh Tien Co will be fined for late taxpaying, he said.
However, the public’s confusion over why a private-owned company can receive such incentives from local authorities remains unanswered, as officials at the district’s people’s committee refused to meet the media.