Seeking overdue tax debts of enforced businesses – Part 1: Some enforced exit suspension to find out that they are directors

VCN – In addition compliant businesses, contributing large tax revenue to the State budget and bolstering economic development, there are still some businesses taking advantage of the openness of the law to establish illegitimate companies to delay billions of dong in tax debt for many years, in order to avoid tax obligations to the State. To collect these tax debts, the Law on Tax Administration No. 38/2019/QH14 stipulates eight measures to enforce administrative decisions on tax management. One of those effective measures is exit suspension for legal representatives of businesses, which has helped the Customs agency earn hundreds of billions of dong in import-export tax and domestic taxes.
GDVC assigns target of collecting and handling overdue tax debts for provincial and municipal customs departments GDVC assigns target of collecting and handling overdue tax debts for provincial and municipal customs departments
Customs assigns target of recovering and handling overdue tax debt for 24 units Customs assigns target of recovering and handling overdue tax debt for 24 units
Many businesses enforced for large tax debts Many businesses enforced for large tax debts
Article 4 of Decree No. 01/2021/ND-CP stipulates:  The enterprise’s founder or the enterprise shall complete the application for enterprise registration and take legal responsibility for the legitimacy, truthfulness, and accuracy of information therein and reports.

Among business owners who delay paying tax debts, subject to exit suspension measures, some do not know that they are directors of businesses with tax arrears until they received notice of exist suspension.

Providing fake documents to establish businesses

Returning to school in Australia after more than a month of visiting family in Vietnam in July 2023, Dinh Gia Linh panicked when Tan Son Nhat International Airport Border Gate Police informed her that she was not allowed to exit according to the Notice of exit suspension from the Customs agency, specified in Article 36 of Law No. 49/2019/QH14 regulating cases of exit suspension.

Sharing with us, Dinh Gia Linh said that when she was notified by the security agency, she was very shocked and did not know why her exit was delayed. “After learning why I was a legal representative for a business that owed nearly VND1 billion in taxes, I was even more surprised and panicked, because I was still in school and didn't know any businesses and have never worked at a company" - Dinh Gia Linh shared.

Working with the Customs agency, Linh learned that she was the legal representative of Gepher Bagaman Trading Company Limited. This company is licensed to establish and begin operations on March 9, 2022. Meanwhile, Linh had previously departed for Australia on February 20, 2022 and she brought her original Citizen Identification Card when leaving the country and affirmed that she neither provided citizen identification card nor signed documents related to the establishment of Gepher Bagaman Trading Company Limited.

Investigating this case, the officials said Gepher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd. was assessed tax by the Customs according to the value notices for exported veneer products, arising from June 2, 2022 to July 2022 of 74 declarations, with tax debt amounting to over VND978 million.

Following the instructions of the Customs agency, Dinh Gia Linh contacted the Department of Planning and Investment and reported to the Police. According to Go Vap District Police, through profiling at Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment and verifying and working with officials on the process of establishing Gapher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd., it was determined, "Dinh Gia Linh did not directly and did not authorize any individual or organization to submit the application to establish Gapher Bagaman Trading

According to the verification results of the Police agency, Gapher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd. was registered for establishment on March 9, 2022, the establishment registration documents were submitted online through "authorization" between Ms. Dinh Gia Linh to Mr. N. C. B., an employee of Company B – specializing in office rental and business establishment services. The Director of Company B. said that on March 7, 2022, Company B's Zalo account received a Zalo message from phone number 0928... with the content of hiring to register to establish a company with the information: " Gapher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd, address: 267/2A Le Duc Tho, Ward 17, Go Vap, charter capital: VND2,000,000,000, phone number: 0878.222.369, and legal representative is Dinh Gia Linh ”. Company B was hired to complete procedures for establishing the company with VND1.2 million fee. Company B prepared all documents and procedures and sent them to Zalo via phone number 0928... and asked this person to print them out for the legal representative to sign and send back. This is done via Zalo or email, so Company B's consultant did not know this person's name or where he was from. However, through the fact that this person transferred a deposit of VND685,000 to the account of the director of Company B, the Police identified the person using Zalo with phone number 0928... as Mr. B.Q.H.B (born in 1988, in Dong Nai).

Working with the police, Mr. B.Q.H.B said that between March 2, 2022 and March 7, 2022, Mr. B. received a phone call from a man claiming to be Co, asking Mr. B. to register to establish a business (Mr. B. did not know this man's personal background). On March 7, 2022, a man named Co had an appointment to meet Mr. B. and presented documents including: a citizen identification card with the name Dinh Gia Linh and a paper stating the company information: Gapher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd. , the legal representative is Dinh Gia Linh. After that, Mr. B. contacted and transferred all the information provided by the man named Co to Company B to complete the procedures for establishing the company.

When Company B's staff prepared the documents, they sent the entire documents via email and asked Mr. B. to give them to Ms. Dinh Gia Linh to sign. Mr. B. printed out these documents and called a man named Co. He directly signed Ms. Dinh Gia Linh's signature on these documents and returned them to Mr. B, who sent them back to Company B. to submit to Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment. Mr. B. said that he did not know each other, had not met, and was not authorized by Ms. Dinh Gia Linh to submit the application to establish Gapher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd.

Verifying at the Immigration Department, Ministry of Public Security determined: Ms. Dinh Gia Linh exited on February 20, 2022 and entered on May 20, 2023 as the time that Gapher Bagaman Trading Co., Ltd was established.

According to the above conclusion by the Police, on the mid-week of January, 2024, Sai Gon port border gate Customs Branch issued a notice of cancelling the exit suspension for Dinh Gia Linh.

Article 4 of Decree No. 01/2021/ND-CP stipulates: The enterprise’s founder or the enterprise shall complete the application for enterprise registration and take legal responsibility for the legitimacy, truthfulness, and accuracy of information therein and reports.

Changing director when tax debt arises

Not as tragic as the case of Dinh Gia Linh, but the case of a female director of a business is also very ironic, to realize that she was a director of a company that she has never heard the company. At the end of October 2023, Ms. Le Thanh Vi, born in 1996, the legal representative of Baby Care Trading Company Limited (18 Nam Quoc Cang, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City) submitted a petition to the Saigon Port Area 1 Border Gate Customs Branch. Ms. Vi said that on October 11, 2023, she received a notice of exit suspension from the Customs Branch and learned that he was the director of a business that owed taxes.

According to Ms. Vi, she was very surprised because she had not registered the establishment or legal representation for Baby Care Trading Co., Ltd., and confirmed that her information had been stolen from her identity card. "Some stole my information to set up a company with bad intentions, tax evasion, and influence me" - Ms. Vi affirmed. She requested the business registration licensing agency to provide records of Baby Care Trading Co., Ltd. to the police to verify the falsification and revocation of the company's business registration certificate and cancel the notice of exit suspension for her.

The reporter visit the registered address of Baby Care Co., Ltd and found that there is no Baby Care Trading Co., Ltd. operating here. Through research, Baby Care Trading Company Limited was established on June 18, 2021, the establishment license was issued by Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment. Phone number is believed to be the legal representative's is temporarily locked.

According to the leader of the Business Registration Office - Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment and information saved at the National Business Registration Database managed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Trading Company Limited Baby Care first registered on June 18, 2021, the legal representative was Pham Le Kieu Vinh. However, on January 11, 2022, Baby Care Trading Company Limited registered the first change of the owner and the legal representative as Le Thanh Vi.

According to the City Department of Planning and Investment, the above business registration change of the enterprise is in accordance with regulations. Because according to the provisions of Article 4 of Decree No. 01/2021/ND-CP: The enterprise’s founder or the enterprise shall complete the application for enterprise registration and take legal responsibility for the legitimacy, truthfulness, and accuracy of information therein and reports.

In addition to the two cases mentioned above, according to Saigon Port Area 1 Customs Branch, a case of falsified business registration documents also includes Annewcaps Trading Company Limited - Tax code 0317284495 (address no. 21 /8 Phan Huy Ich, Ward 14, Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City), tax debt of over VND185 million. According to tax debt records, the legal representative of this company is Mr. Do Van Khai. However, after the Customs agency issued a notice to postpone exit for Mr. Khai, he sent an written complaint to the Police, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment, and Sai Port Area 1 Border Gate Customs Branch about forged documents in the company director's name. He is currently suspended from leaving the country and the Customs agency is waiting for the results of verification from the authorities.

Currently, the cases related to the establishment of the two above-mentioned enterprises have been transferred by the Department of Planning and Investment of Ho Chi Minh City to the Police to verify the contents declared in the business registration applications of the two enterprises.

(Part 2: Difficult to recover trillions of dong in tax debt)

By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang

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