Vietnam gold shop ordered to pay $2.8 mln in evaded taxes

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A tax agency in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau on Tuesday asked a local gold shop to pay VND60 billion (US$2.8 million) in taxes that it allegedly evaded in 2010, a source told Thanh Nien.

The decision was signed by Le Thanh Du, chief of Dam Doi District's Tax Agency, even though he is being suspected of helping Hoang Khiem Gold Shop to evade the huge taxes between January and November, 2010.

Also according to the source, Nguyen Binh Khiem, owner of the gold shop, has refused to pay the questioned taxes, which were discovered last December when Ca Mau's inspectors reviewed the shop's sale invoices.

Khiem has sent a letter to high-ranking agencies to explain  the taxes, the source said.

Previously in a report to local agencies, Khiem said he opened a branch in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City, where he processed gold for Vietnam's largest gold trader, SJC Gold Co.

He said every day the branch processed between 500 to 1,000 taels of gold at VND60,000 per tael, but SJC asked it to issue invoices stating that it sold the gold.

According to the conclusions, Hoang Khiem shop's invoices showed that its sales between January and November 2010 increased up to VND7.712 trillion (US$366.6 million) within seven months

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Around 99 percent of the suspected sales were recorded as trades with SJC, while Asia Commercial Bank had trades worth VND70 billion (US$3.3 million).

However, the shop declared to the Dam Doi District's tax office that its fixed monthly income was just VND714 million (US$34,000), inspectors said.

They said Du allowed the shop to evade taxes by failing to properly inspect its operations in time, as ordered by the provincial tax office.

Moreover, while Hoang Khiem's sales were not stable, Dam Doi's tax agency imposed fixed taxes on it, which was against regulations, inspectors said.

Tran Nam Viet, deputy chief of Ca Mau Province's anti-corruption agency, said his agency has proposed local police intensively inspect the case, which is "complicated and is drawing a great deal of public attention."

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