Multinationals’ top-up tax set for approval in Vietnam

27 Nov 2023

Parliament in Vietnam is due to approve a top-up tax on Wednesday for multinationals, hiking the effective rate of the corporate tax to 15% in January.

The country has initially planned to combine the approval of this tax with a series of measures to partially compensate large foreign investors impacted by the higher tax, such as Samsung and Intel, but the move is not on the parliament’s agenda, Reuters reports.

As this top-up tax could, in effect, reduce Vietnam’s appeal amongst foreign businesses if not combined with subsidies, parliament had initially ruled out a vote in the current session, the last of 2023.

However, the tax has now returned to parliament’s schedule, with a vote now expected to take place on the last day of the month-long session.

As it stands, it is not yet known whether extra incentives for certain foreign investors could be implemented without the passing of a specific resolution, the Reuters report goes on to add. Nevertheless, parliament could adopt such a resolution at a later date.

Within the new rules being steered through by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), businesses paying less than 15% in a low-tax jurisdiction will face a top-up tax in that jurisdiction or their country of origin as of next year.

Corporate income tax in Vietnam already stands at 20%, but for a number of years, the country has offered effective rates as low as 5% and substantial periods of zero tax for large foreign investors.

This new top-up tax will see as many as 122 foreign firms face a sharp rise in their tax costs in Vietnam, according to a government document, which predicts an additional tax intake of 14.6 trillion Dong ($601.05 million) per year.