Real estate groups top tax debt tally

May 25, 2021 | 21:08
A number of corporate taxpayers that have failed to fulfil their tax obligations are posing challenges for their own customers, especially in real estate-focused companies regarding land-use right certificates.
1545 p18 real estate groups top tax debt tally
Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, according to authorities, owes $7.6 million in taxes. Photo: Le Toan

A long list of companies, including a slew of real estate services providers, was made public last week as an important initiative of local authorities to put tax-debt cases under review.

Hanoi Tax Department under the General Department of Taxation published the list of over 2,000 taxpayers with debts, especially land tax under the law on non-agricultural land-use tax.

The figure is roughly estimated at VND6.39 trillion ($278 million), including 1,500 taxpayers with potential tax debt collection of VND5.748 trillion ($250 million), and 530 taxpayers with soured debt tax amount of approximately VND638 million ($27.7 million).

State-owned Shipbuilding Industry Corporation is one of those not fulfilling its tax obligations, with VND175.5 billion ($7.6 million) tax debt. Lilama Hanoi JSC also owes VND138.2 billion ($6 million).

Domestic property developer Song Da-Thang Long JSC topped the list with the largest debt of over VND384.6 billion ($16.7 million).

Many names were outed in the past and continue to be listed as they have yet to pay up. For example, World Gems Co., Ltd. owes land use fees for more than five consecutive years for its Ruby Tower Dinh Cong project, previously known as AZ Sky Dinh Cong.

World Gems still owes more than VND142 billion ($6.2 million), and many residents have also been requiring legitimate certificates of house/land use rights.

Dong Thap JSC, developer of a residential project in the capital’s Hai Ba Trung district, is reported to owe VND32.5 billion ($1.4 million) in non-agricultural land use tax, land rent, and late payment of land use levy.

“For the tax debts of Dong Thap JSC, we will apply a coercive measure to notify the invoice that is no longer valid for this company. Moreover, we will take further coercive measures in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Tax Administration if the company still fails to pay tax obligations on time,” Hanoi Tax Department noted.

Ha Huy Phong, managing director of Inteco Law Firm explained, “Besides tax debt, investors often owe land use levy, leading to ineligibility for land use right certificates. As a result, homebuyers could not be granted house and land ownership certificates.”

In January, Ho Chi Minh City Tax Department announced that collectible tax debt as of November 30 reached VND12.25 trillion ($533 million), up 25 per cent compared to the end of 2019. The major issues in the rise lay in corporate income tax (CIT) and taxed land of enterprises operating in the real estate sector.

The total debt of land and water surface rents in 2019 in the city was VND3 trillion ($130 million), up 7.44 per cent on-year.

In terms of the collection of levy on land use rights and land administration fees, the total debt was VND1 trillion ($43.5 million), down 3.86 per cent compared on-year.

For real estate groups’ CIT, the figure reached VND327 billion ($14.2 million), equivalent to an increase of 20.22 per cent on-year. There are 29 enterprises that owe tax of over VND5 billion ($218,000) with a total CIT debt of VND295 billion ($12.8 million), accounting for 90 per cent of all CIT debt in real estate businesses.

Duc Khai Corporation – another property business – reportedly owes VND441 billion ($19.2 million). Duc Khai is known as the developer of residential projects such as The Era Town. Last year, a number of Era Town apartments were put on auction as a part of BIDV and TPBank’s plans to sell collateral assets to recover their soured loans.

In January, property developer Thu Duc House in Ho Chi Minh City was fined VND451 billion ($19.6 million) due to its tax arrears. Since then, the municipal authorities have taken stronger coercive measures involving suspension of the company’s invoice usage.

Director of Ho Chi Minh City Tax Department Le Duy Minh signed a tax promulgation at the end of March, citing that the company owed taxes for more than 90 days and did not comply with the decision to sanction administrative violations on tax management.

The government last month issued Decree No.52/2021/ND-CP on extension for payment of VAT, CIT, personal income tax, and land rental fee in 2021, which aims to provide a much-needed foundation to help cash-strapped companies weather financial difficulties endured in recent times.

By Lam Tien

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