The Ministry of Finance expected 190,000-200,000 enterprises nationwide to declare taxes electronically by the end of this year, but obstacles were making it hard for this target to be reached.
Deputy minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said at a meeting in Hanoi late last week, specifying that only about 118,000 firms had declared taxes online by June 30.
The electronic format would help firms to save costs since it enabled them to submit their tax returns at any time without having to go to tax agencies while avoiding troublesome administrative procedures, he said.
Companies were required to submit tax declarations at least 12 times a year, he noted.
According to Tuan, the online procedures were very simple as they only required a firm to have internet access, an email and a certificate granted by an authorised service provider to use a digital signature.
The prices of T-VAN, an electronic tax declaration service, averaged VND1.5 million (US$72) per year in 2011 and had fallen by half with the increasing number of service providers.
However, many firms were showing little enthusiasm for the method, alleging that they had inadequate IT infrastructure and software, according to Tuan.
“But I think the more important reason is that accountants, for their own personal reasons, don’t want to do this online,” he told Dau tu (Vietnam Investment Review).
Accounting staff in the majority of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had inadequate professional knowledge and IT skills, while some even wanted to declare taxes directly so that they could trick their companies out of money, he told the newspaper.
Tuan said in order to encourage enterprises declare taxes online, besides raising their awareness and providing them with guidance and assistance, it was necessary for authorities to build laws governing the issue.