Tax Incentives in Vietnam: A Comprehensive Guide for Foreign Companies

Know your tax incentives before expanding your business to Vietnam, especially if your business falls under a high-priority industry.

As Vietnam presents a more and more open economy in order to attract foreign investment, the government has created some interesting tax incentives. These include paying no taxes for a certain period of the initial establishment in the country, involving tech-based industries, and investing in underdeveloped geographical areas of the country. Understanding and applying for these tax incentives is no easy feat. This guide will provide details for foreign businesses looking to expand their business to Vietnam, that fit the government

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When compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s tax incentives stand out and create a more favorable condition for foreigners to expand their business operations or invest in new projects.

Through reading this article, you will have a bigger picture of tax incentives in Vietnam, which will help you take advantage of the tax incentives offered for your business expansion and investment in Vietnam.

Taxation in Vietnam

In general, there are three common taxes in Vietnam:

  • Corporate Income Tax
  • Personal Income Tax
  • Value-added Tax

The biggest incentives are regarding Corporate Tax incentives for high-priority tech-based industries.

Overview of Corporate Income Tax (CIT)

Foreigners continue to pour in and start businesses in Vietnam because they are aware of the continuous decrease in corporate income tax rate in the country. The Vietnamese CIT rate decreased from 32% to 20% between 2000 and 2018. Except for Singapore, the CIT rate in Vietnam is lower than most countries in the region, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan. The following shows the CIT rates in Vietnam compare to ot’s neighbouring countries:

  • Vietnam – 20%
  • Malaysia – 24%
  • Indonesia – 22%
  • Philippines – 30%

CIT is payable annually according to the tax law in Vietnam.

Related Reading: The Most Common Tax Infringements in Vietnam and How to Avoid Them

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value-added tax is considered the most prevalent and indirect tax in Vietnam. Consumers purchasing goods and services in Vietnam will be imposed a VAT of 0%, 5% or 10%, depending on the types of goods and services. Most goods in Vietnam will be taxed at a flat-rate of 10%.

Tax Incentives in Vietnam

If your business is approved for corporate tax incentives, your business is exempt from paying taxes for the first 4 years of operations

Two ways you can be exempted from paying taxes:

Incomes of enterprises from the execution of new public sector-related projects in a disadvantaged area (geographic area) or extremely disadvantaged geographical area specified in the Appendix of Decree No. 218/2013/ND-CP.

or

The period of tax exemption/reduction is applied to high-tech enterprises and agriculture enterprises applying high technologies. These incentives begin from the year in which they are granted the Certificate of High-tech Enterprise or Certificate of Agriculture Enterprise Applying High Technologies.

When are these Tax Incentives Applied?

First 4 years of operations: Corporate tax exemption where foreign companies are exempted from paying any corporate tax. This is applied from the moment you are granted the certificates mentioned previously.

Following 9 years: incentive of 50% reduction on corporate tax are applied.

How to Apply for Tax Incentives in Vietnam

In order to qualify for tax incentives in Vietnam you must apply for two certifications:

  • Certificate of High-tech Enterprise
  • Certificate of Agriculture Enterprise Applying Technologies

The application procedures for these certificates are quite stringent and take a considerable amount of time.

Corporate Tax Incentives for Software Production or ICT Companies

The Vietnamese government has prioritized software and IT industries as part of its economic development and offers attractive tax incentives for IT companies. These CIT incentives are as follows:

CIT incentives for the first 15 years, in Detail:

  • First 4 years: exempt to CIT completely
  • Next 9 years: 50% tax reduction of the 10% rate
  • Next 2 years: 10% CIT

From 16th years of operation and onward: Standard 20% CIT

Example:

First 15 years

  • From 2030 to 2033: No CIT paid
  • From 2034 to 2042: 5% CIT (in regulations its stated as 50% of the 10% CIT)
  • From 2043 to 2044: 10% CIT is paid

From 2045 onward: 20% CIT

The Process to apply for Certificate of High-tech Enterprise in Vietnam

The process to get the certificate of High-enterprise for an ICT firm in Vietnam involves the following 7 stages:

7 Stages to qualify as a software production process for CIT incentives

1. The following tasks are included in requirements determination: analysis; collecting and developing requirements; consulting on process adjustment; and aggregating and approving requirements.

2. Analysis and design responsibilities include describing requirements, creating development algorithms, modeling data, modeling functionality, modeling information flow, choosing software solutions, designing software systems, and designing software modules and units.

3. Programming and coding jobs include those related to software, software units and modules, software adjustments and modifications, software integration of software systems, and software coding.

4. Software testing includes the following tasks: creating test scenarios for software modules and units; software testing; software system testing; software function testing; software quality assurance; estimating the likelihood of mistakes; gauging client satisfaction; and software transfer.

5. Software completion and packaging responsibilities include the creation of software description documentation, installation and use instructions, software packaging, design registration, and intellectual property rights registration.

6. Software maintenance including the following tasks: offering instructions on program installation, installing the software, instructing users, testing the software after transfer, fixing the software after transfer, and providing support and warranty after transfer.

7. Marketing, advertising, selling, and distribution of software products are all included in the publishing and distribution of software products, as well as their publication.

What next?

To go through the incorporation process and apply for these special incentives foreign firms must employ experienced tax specialists in the country with a long track record in the field. If you think your company fits the requirement laid out above, get in touch by filling out the form below.

Contact Our Consultant

FAQs

If your business is approved for tax incentives, your business is exempt from paying taxes for the first 4 years of operations

For the following 9 years you will only have to pay 50% of the standard corporate tax rates

Jason Ha

Verified by:​

Jason Ha

Jason Ha is the Accounting Manager in our Vietnam office. He has gained experience in the accounting & finance field in international companies in Ho Chi Minh City for over 7 years.

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