Within the first four months of this year alone, the HCM City Tax Agency has received 7,000 applications for personal income tax refunds, more than double last year’s figure.
In Vietnam, it is stipulated that individuals be deducted 10 percent of their infrequent incomes, such as bonuses or lottery winnings, on receiving them. At the end of each year, the individuals can receive a refund of the deducted amounts if their total yearly income is under the threshold required to pay personal income tax.
But the road to get the money back is not an easy one, especially for teachers and workers, who still have hadtheir irregular incomes deducted despite earning modest incomes undoubtedly below the tax threshold.
For instance, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, a taxpayer, said she submitted a refund application to the tax agency in District 1 on March 28, and was told that her application was complete and valid.
In previous years Ha would have to wait only a couple of weeks to receive the notification to get the money back at the state treasury,, but this time she has been waiting for two months and has yet to receive any announcement.
Upon telephoning the agency to question the delay, Ha was told that “it’s due to a personnel change in the agency executive board.”
“I asked them again on May 22 and was told that the person in charge of my application has been transferred to another department, and that I have to continue waiting,” Ha told Tuoi Tre.
“How on earth could a personnel change delay an application approval for as long as two months?”
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ha, who teaches English at a high school in Binh Chanh District, said she went to the district tax agency to hand in the application for a refund of VND185,000 (US$8.8), which was deducted from the wages she received for writing to a newspaper.
Although the newspaper had specified her name, tax code, and identification number in her application, the tax official insisted that the institution also fill in her address and telephone number.
“It means I have to travel a long way from Binh Chanh District to District 3 to fulfill their request,” said Ha, adding that she of course refused to follow their demands.
“I had argued with him for a while before that official’s superior intervened, saying it’s too small a sum to argue about, thanks to which I finally had my application received.”
Willing to lose Tet bonus
A representative of Garmex Saigon Co, a garment manufacturer, said that the monthly incomes of its labourers are always under the tax threshold.
But in December, the labourers have to have their wages deducted thanks to the bonus to celebrate the Lunar New Year, or Tet.
Since the labourers will certainly have to get the tax refunds for this deduction, some have refused their bonus for fear of the complex procedures required to get the refunds, the company said.
The accountant of Nissan Co also said many workers at the company also accept losing their bonus for a similar reason.
“[Labourers] have to ask for a day off to go to the tax agency, which means their salary will be reduced, while they can never complete all the procedures within just 1 day,” the accountant explained.