Vietnam demands $159 million tax on Big C deal: report

Thanh Nien News

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A Big C store in Vietnam. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien A Big C store in Vietnam. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien

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More than a month after France's Casino Group completed the US$1.04 billion sale of supermarket chain Big C Vietnam to Thailand's Central Group, the Vietnamese tax authority has reportedly grown impatient with the late tax payment on the record deal.
In a recent letter to the companies, the General Department of Taxation calculated the capital transfer tax for the deal at VND3.6 trillion ($159 million) and threatened to block the transfer if the companies involved refuse to pay up, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The report did not mention the taxable income of the deal, but quoted an official as saying that the capital transfer tax rate is 20 percent. 
Under Vietnam's existing laws, businesses have 10 days to pay taxes on the sale of their holdings since their negotiation is completed.
Casino and Central have been 40 days overdue, as their deal was announced on April 29, Tuoi Tre said, citing the department's letter.
An unnamed senior tax official was quoted as saying that according to double taxation agreements, the tax will be collected in Vietnam. 
Previously Casino reportedly said it had no obligations to pay tax on the sale. Central and the managers of Big C Vietnam have given no comments on the taxation, according to Tuoi Tre.
Vietnamese electronics retailer Nguyen Kim, which is 49 percent owned by Central, also joined the Thai conglomerate in the acquisition. It is unclear how much each of them owns in Big C after the deal.
Big C, the largest foreign-owned retail chain in Vietnam with 33 supermarkets and 11 convenience stores, also has to pay its previous back taxes, if any, incurred before the transfer, another senior tax official said in Tuoi Tre.
In April, the tax department announced that it will look into 45 companies that operate Big C's stores around the country, or more than half of businesses that will face tax inspections this year.
The tax authority expects the inspections to bring in more than VND10 trillion ($442.9 million) to the state budget.

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