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Formosa may see hefty fine in tax arrears

Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co., Ltd. (HFS), the operator of the $10.5 billion steel and port complex in the central province of Ha Tinh, may have to pay VND1.555 billion ($69.6 million) in tax arrears, including refunded value added tax (VAT), deducted taxes, and late payment fees, according to newswire Vnexpress.net.


Formosa may see hefty fine in tax arrears

In late May, the General Department of Taxation proposed the authorities to scrutinise the refunded and deducted taxes of HFS, looking at VAT receipts which the company submitted after the taxation authorities carried out the inspection of the company. 

This means that the refunded and deducted taxes received by the company exceeded the regulated level.

At the time the taxation authorities carried out inspections, the company had yet to complete its tax declaration, leaving the authorities lacking the necessary data to arrive to a conclusion about the accurate refunded VAT and tax refund values.

Accordingly, after the company completed its tax declaration, the total refunded VAT and tax refund for the 1.5 years between June 2014 and December 2015, which HFS declared late, was nearly VND1.55 trillion ($69.2 million). 

On June 8, the Ha Tinh Tax Department requested HFS to pay back the total refunded VAT and tax amount, and required the company to calculate the fines for its delay in tax payment. However, as of now, the company has yet to return the refunded VAT, deducted tax, as well as fines. 

Previously, HFS was handed a bill of $245,610 in tax arrears by the Ha Tinh Customs Department because it manipulated the price of imported machinery and equipment on several occasions.

This was the conclusion after the Customs Department examined the company’s export activities during 2010-2015. 

The report pointed out that HFS had imported machinery and equipment to be used as fixed assets for its steel and seaport complex in Ha Tinh Province.

It was found to have declared incorrect prices for the shipments as well as harmonized system code to avoid incurring a charge of import duty and value-added tax.

This is not the first such violation. According to the Customs Department’s Document 54/HQHT-NV sent to the General Department of Vietnam Customs last year, HFS had previously declared a shipment of dust filter covers valued at $1.63 million to customs officials, but that figure was later changed to $1.48 million on a tax exemption form.

Similarly, after the 2015 tax refund checks, the tax authorities also identified HFS to attempt to improve the project value through its foreign contractors, increasing the value of imported goods. It must pay VND225 billion ($10.05 million) in back taxes.

Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co., Ltd. was licensed in 2008 with a registered capital of $2.7 billion.

However, in eight years, the company has sought to have its business license amended 14 times, gradually increasing its chartered capital.

The company asked to raise its capital to $7.8 billion in 2012, and $10.5 billion following the latest adjustment in June 2015.

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