The Ministry of Finance has proposed the Government raise the individual income tax imposed on capital/securities transfer to 2 per cent for trades not registered to the Vietnam Securities Depository and not made on the securities market.

The individual income tax imposed on each securities/capital transaction is calculated by the selling price minus the buying price and charges that help generate the income for the individual investor.

According to Article 23 and 28 of the Law of Personal Income Tax issued in November 2011, both resident and non-resident individuals are taxed at 0.1 per cent for each securities transaction.

Meanwhile, resident individual investors must pay a tax rate of 20 per cent for each capital transaction while non-resident individual investors only have to pay 0.1 per cent tax rate.

According to the finance ministry, it had been difficult for market regulators to keep track of securities transactions, which were not registered to the VSD for trading on the securities market, and charges that were relevant to the transactions.

In many cases, individual investors falsely declared the difference between selling and buying prices was zero, which led to tax arrears, the finance ministry said in its proposal.

In other cases, some companies that had not registered their shares to the VSD for trading on the securities market avoid paying corporate income taxes by transferring the securities to various individuals at the buying-selling price difference of zero, the ministry said.

Then the individual buyers only had to bear a 0.1 per cent tax rate for their income when selling the securities at higher prices, the ministry added.

Thus, the ministry proposed the Government increase the individual income tax rates on the selling price of the transfer of untraded and unregistered capital/securities to 2 per cent. The 0.1 per cent individual income tax rate would be imposed only on transfer of shares that are traded and registered to the stock exchanges.

The proposal is a part of the ministry’s overall proposal on developing a draft law to amend the laws of added value tax, special consumption tax, corporate income tax, personal income tax, natural resource and environment tax and import-export tax.

Brokerage firms and market analysts were not available for comment.

Rising questions

A number of brokerage firm representatives have raised concerns over the feasibility of the latest proposal. They argue that it would cost market regulators and tax agencies more time and effort to keep track on capital/securities transactions to collect tax, reported.

The transfer of securities is a part of the transfer of capital as capital transfer is the trading of ownership in limited liability companies, associated companies and economic organisations.

Meanwhile, securities transfer is the trading of ownership, shares, options, bonds, fund certificates and other securities products in joint stock companies, according to the laws of Securities and Enterprises.

As the tax rate imposed on capital transfer is 20 times higher than the tax rate imposed on securities transfer, it would encourage unlisted and untraded companies to dodge the tax regulations.

They could turn to the form of a joint-stock company from the form of limited liability company. This would cause more trouble for the tax agencies collecting taxes from their transactions if the regulators fail to keep track of the trading of securities and capital.