Funds raise concerns over tax rules

Representatives of investment funds raised concerns over the nation’s tax regimes in a recent meeting in New York, saying that income tax regulations were hindering them from promoting investment.

Current tax policy discouraged investors to put money into private equity funds and also limited the accessibility of capital in these funds, they said.

Foreign individual and organisational investors (along with domestic individual investors) are imposed a tax of 0.1 per cent on every fund transaction, while domestic organisations are only required to pay a tax of 25 per cent on actual capital gains and domestic individual investors only 20 per cent.

“These regulations make it difficult for some small- and medium-sized companies to invest,” said Dragon Capital Fund managing parter Bill Burry.

Under a proposed circular to replace Ministry of Finance Decision No 45/2007/QD-BTC, sales of securities is public companies by foreign investment funds would be taxed at 0.1 per cent of the transaction value, while sales of securities in a non-public (i.e., non-listed) company would be taxed at a rate of 25 per cent on any capital gains.

Funds would also be required to withhold the 25-per-cent capital gains tax on profits distributed to their institutional investors, either domestic or foreign, consistent with Official Letter No 10945/BTC-TCT issued in August 2010.

“There is no incentive for foreign investors to invest in domestic investment funds” if these regulations were adopted, said the director of HSBC’s securities services department, Bui Thu Thuy.

“The Ministry of Finance should allow investors to choose between a rate of 25 per cent on capital gains or 0.1 per cent on contract value when they transfer equity capital in unlisted firms,” Anh added.

SSI Fund Management deputy director Nguyen Khac Hai said that the State should exempt from taxation income received from open-ended funds.

“To encourage investors to join in open-ended funds, taxes on gains from selling fund certificates should also be reduced by 50 per cent,” he said.

The head of the State Securities Commission’s fund management division, Nguyen Thanh Long, proposed that investment companies be exempt from capital gains taxes altogether.

“The loss in taxes should be considered a promotion of long-term investment,” Long said.

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