'Flappy Bird' tax payment raises questions over online revenues

Thanh Nien News

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 A file photo of Nguyen Ha Dong, creator of world popular mobile game Flappy Bird. Photo: Dan Ha
Creator Nguyen Ha Dong of "Flappy Bird," a Vietnamese mobile game that took the world by storm last year, has declared an income tax of VND1.4 billion (US$62,340), an official told the press Tuesday.
Before pulling the game in February last year, more than a month after it became the most downloaded app on both Apple Store and Google Play, Dong reportedly earned $50,000 a day from in-app ads.
Although some analysts argued that the income tax should have been much higher, Vietnamese tax authorities apparently cannot verify his earnings from the sleeper hit at the moment.
Nguyen Quang Tien, a senior official at the General Department of Taxation, said at the press conference that local authorities are still working on how to manage online business activities as well as how to tax their revenues, news website VnEconomy reported.
Even though the government has issued several regulations related to such activities, it is still "difficult" to manage them thoroughly, he was quoted as saying.
When it comes to managing online businesses, tax officials must be competent in both foreign languages and information technology, Tien said.
A screenshot of the popular mobile game Flappy Bird.
They must dedicate a lot of time to the job, because unlike other kinds of business transactions, electronic transactions can have all their traces deleted quickly and easily, he said, adding that some websites are run on overseas servers.
However, the official said, Vietnamese authorities will deal with those difficulties. 
In the meantime, tax authorities will continue to encourage businesses to declare and pay taxes voluntarily, Tien said, stressing any violation will be strictly punished.

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