Online sellers on Facebook asked to declare income
More than 900 Facebook account holders identified by the HCM City Taxation Agency as online traders have declared tax, while 11,000 account holders have not done so, after receiving a message from the taxation body, according to Le Thi Thu Huong, deputy head of the HCM City Taxation Agency.
Ho Kim Trung, 32, in district 5, HCM City, has been trading watches, glasses and handbags on Facebook for years. Previously, he displayed products he had on the fanpage called hangxachtayxxx and quoted prices.
Trung said he earned no less than VND120 million a month. However, he decided to change the mode of business in the last month to avoid tax collectors.
“If someone wants to buy products, he can call my number on the fanpage. Goods will be delivered to buyers and cash will be paid on delivery,” he said.
Thu Ha, a Facebooker in Go Vap district, who has been selling clothes on Facebook for the last two years, said: “I know my online shop is quite well known and it is being eyed by the taxation body. Therefore, I have closed the shop.”
However, she understands that this must not be the long-term solution.
She plans to reduce the number of products on Facebook, but instead will share information about products on Viber and Zalo and online chatting.
Ha’s customers can access many different fanpages Ha has set up.
“Setting up more fanpages and selling goods via Zalo and Viber will take more time, but the taxation bodies won’t track down the host fanpage,” she explained.
According to Do Vo Thang, director of Athena, a network security firm, online traders have many ways to evade tax.
The HCM City Taxation Agency only tries to collect tax from Facebook account holders in the city, so many account holders show addresses in other provinces and cities and leave telephone addresses for contacts.
Under current laws, small and home-based business owners who use the Facebook platform to sell products and have revenue of more than VND100 million (US$4,500) per year will be taxed at five percent.
However, it is difficult for taxation bodies to assess the real revenue of online sellers because of tricks played by the sellers.
If sellers collect cash instead of accepting payments via cards, or set up many fanpages to ‘disperse’ revenue, taxation bodies can't identify the exact revenue.
M. Ha, VNN