Endeavors to Accomplish Budget Collection Tasks

9:50:00 AM | 11/6/2023

The customs sector’s State budget collection and remittance faced difficulties in the first nine months of 2023 due to various reasons, requiring local customs agencies to have timely solutions to ensure completion of budget collection tasks assigned in 2023.

Customs agencies strive to streamline procedures, modernize customs, facilitate trade, and reduce time and cost for cargo clearance

AAccording to the third-quarter report, State budget revenue from import and export activities reached VND83,695 billion (US$3.5 billion), down 9.7% from the second quarter and down 18.4% from the same quarter of 2022. From January 1 to September 30, 2023, the revenue grossed VND268,690 billion (US$11.4 billion), equal to 63.2% of the assigned target, down 18.6% year on year.

Local customs authorities implement measures to enhance efficiency

The customs sector’s State budget collection and remittance faced difficulties in the first nine months of 2023 due to a sharp decrease in budget revenue from imports and exports as compared to 2022. The total value of the country’s merchandise imports and exports was estimated at US$497.66 billion, down 11% or US$61.41 billion from the same period last year. Of the sum, exports accounted for US$259.67 billion, down 8.2% (US$23.32 billion), and imports accounted for US$237.99 billion, down 13.8% (US$38.09 billion).

The decline of highly-taxed imports hit state budget revenue, including textile and garment, footwear, and seafood. According to Mr. Phan Quoc Dong, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Customs Department, in the past nine months, the Department collected VND21,492 billion, fulfilling 64.81% of the full-year target, down 12.33% year on year. However, import and export activities are expected to pick up from now until the end of the year, and the Hanoi Customs Department will continue to focus on supporting businesses and dealing with emerging difficulties and obstacles.

In the January-September period, An Giang Customs Department collected VND315.8 billion for the State Budget, completing 77% of the target assigned by the Ministry of Finance. Director Tran Quoc Hoan of An Giang Customs Department said that in the third quarter of 2023, My Thoi Port Border Gate Customs Office refunded VND12.4 billion of import tax to Van Giao Solar Power Plant Joint Stock Company according to its six declaration forms (this revenue arose in 2019 but was refunded in 2023). In addition, budget revenue from some commodities like wood, pesticides, scraps and rock powder shrank significantly from the same period last year.

In 2023, An Giang Customs Department’s main tax source was cane sugar imported from Cambodia. However, due to the introduction of anti-circumvention measures to avoid trade remedies for some cane sugar products according to Decision 2960/QD-BCT dated December 30, 2022 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, there was only one cane sugar import declaration in 2023. This caused its budget revenue to contract significantly.

Like Hanoi and An Giang customs agencies, Kien Giang Customs Department also faced difficulties in State budget collection in 2023. As of October 1, 2023, its collected budget revenue was VND89.6 billion, equal to 112.1% of the assigned target (VND80 billion). However, this value plunged 44.32% from the same period in 2022 (VND161 billion). Currently, the main revenue source for Kien Giang Customs Department is inputs for export footwear manufacturing (accounting for 70% of its total revenue). Nevertheless, the revenue from this source will be refunded when the product is exported. Therefore, state budget revenue is forecasted to be a challenging task for Kien Giang Customs Department in the last months of the year.

Facilitating businesses

Local customs agencies have adopted drastic measures to support importers and exporters in a bid to complete their State budget collection tasks in 2023. Customs authorities are focusing on assessing the likelihood of collecting and handling tax debts, effectively exercising customs supervision and cargo screening at seaports, and strengthening measures to combat smuggling and trade fraudulence to achieve the best budget collection. The General Department of Vietnam Customs directed relevant bodies to closely monitor, and specifically assess State budget situations in 2023, and make practical estimates for 2024 and the 2024-2026 period. All customs agencies were told to speed up administrative procedure reform, modernize customs, facilitate trade, import and export, and reduce time and cost for cargo clearance.

At the same time, they were required to step up measures to prevent revenue loss through inspection and supervision. Accordingly, they probed quantity, weight, type and name of goods; increased the use of scanners and projectors to detect violations; and synchronously implemented solutions to manage imported cargo as per instructions in Official Dispatch 119/TCHQ-GSQL on improving the effectiveness of customs inspection and control.

Customs agencies have synchronized customs value management measures both during and after customs clearance, prevented and promptly handled cases with unreasonably declared customs value for fraud and tax evasion, conducted regular reviews to detect and handle inconsistencies in customs declaration, and intensified measures to improve the effective prevention of fraudulence and origin counterfeiting.

Last but not least, customs authorities have actively reviewed, classified, recovered, and handled tax debts arising before January 1, 2023, according to four classification groups: bad debt, pending debt, freezing debt, and recoverable debt. At the same time, they have applied appropriate solutions for each debt group as directed by superior authorities.

By Hien Phuc, Vietnam Business Forum