en legal alertnov2020

Legal Alert No.01 | November 2020

Banks must provide customer account information and withhold taxes as required by tax authorities

On 19 October 2020, the Government issued Decree 126/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 126“) detailing a number of articles of the Law on Tax Administration No. 38/2019/QH14. In particular, Decree 126 provides for the responsibilities of commercial banks for providing customer account information and withholding taxes on customer accounts opened at banks as required by tax authorities.

Decree 126 provides for the responsibilities of commercial banks as follows:

 Provide customer account information to tax authorities

Under Article 30.2 of Decree 126, commercial banks are responsible for providing tax authorities with information on taxpayers’ payment accounts opened at banks, including name of account holder, account number according to the tax code issued by the tax authority, date of opening of the account, date of account closure. The provision of this account information is done for the first time within 90 days of December 5, 2020, and the account information is updated monthly for 10 days of the following month.

In addition, commercial banks must also provide transaction information via their accounts, balances, and transaction data as required by the head of the tax authority to serve the purpose of inspection, check and definition of tax payables, taking coercive measures to enforce administrative decisions on tax administration in accordance with tax law.

 Withholding taxes on customer accounts opened at banks

  • Under Article 30.3 of Decree 126, banks must withhold and pay tax obligations on behalf of an overseas supplier with a permanent establishment in Vietnam that operates e-commerce, doing business on a digital basis with domestic organizations and individuals (hereinafter referred to as overseas suppliers) if the overseas supplier has not yet registered, declared and paid taxes. At that time, the commercial bank must deduct and pay tax obligations on behalf of the supplier for each product, piece of goods or service that the buyer as an individual in Vietnam pays to the foreign supplier. The name and website address of the overseas supplier will be provided by the General Department of Taxation to the commercial bank.
  • In case an individual buys goods or services from a foreign supplier and pays by card or in other forms that a commercial bank cannot withhold or pay on his behalf, the commercial bank will be responsible for tracking the amount transferred to overseas suppliers and sending monthly report to the General Department of Taxation.

Although the Decree requires tax authorities to be responsible for the confidentiality and security of information in accordance with the law, there arise concerns about the possibility of disclosure of the taxpayer against the confidentiality obligation of the bank.

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