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What is Special Consumption Tax?

Special consumption tax is a type of excise tax imposed on certain types of goods and services. The following article will provide essential information about the special consumption tax.

What is Special Consumption Tax?

Special consumption tax is a type of excise tax levied on certain types of goods and services that are considered luxurious, aimed at regulating the production, importation, and societal consumption. It also strongly regulates the income of consumers, contributing to increased revenue for the state budget and enhancing the management of production and business for goods and services subject to the tax. The entities responsible for paying the special consumption tax are the manufacturing and trading establishments of the goods, but the final consumers are the ones who bear the tax burden.


huế tiêu thụ đặc biệt là loại thuế gián thu, đánh vào một số loại hàng hóa, dịch vụ mang tính chất xa xỉ nhằm điều tiết việc sản xuất, nhập khẩu và tiêu dùng xã hội
Special consumption tax is a type of excise tax imposed on certain types of goods and services that are considered luxurious, aiming to regulate the production, importation, and societal consumption.

Furthermore, the special consumption tax is understood as a type of tax imposed on specific goods and services that are considered to potentially have negative impacts on society or the environment. It is often used as a regulatory tool to deter excessive consumption of certain products or to generate revenue for the government. The "special" aspect of this tax refers to its targeted nature, as it applies only to specific items rather than being a general tax on all goods and services.


Characteristics of the special consumption tax include

  • Narrow tax base: The subjects subjected to the special consumption tax are relatively limited, applying only to certain items or services designated by the government.

  • One-time impact on the circulation of goods and services.

  • It is an excise tax that affects the income of consumers, imposing the tax indirectly through market prices.

  • The tax rates for the special consumption tax tend to be high.

Subjects subject to Special Consumption Tax

The entities subject to the special consumption tax, according to Article 2 of the Law on Special Consumption Tax 2008, amended and supplemented in 2016, include:

– Goods:

  • Cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products used for smoking, inhaling, chewing, sniffing, or sucking.

  • Alcohol.

  • Beer.

  • Cars with less than 24 seats, including cars that carry both passengers and goods, with at least two rows of seats and a fixed partition between the passenger compartment and the cargo compartment.

  • Motorcycles with two wheels, three-wheeled motorcycles with a cylinder capacity of over 125cm³.

  • Aircraft, yachts.

  • Various types of gasoline.

  • Air conditioners with a capacity of 90,000 BTU or less.

  • Leaf cards.

  • Gold, silver, and other precious metals.

– Services:

  • Operating dance clubs.

  • Operating massage parlors, karaoke establishments.

  • Operating casinos; games of chance with prizes, including jackpot games, slot machines, and similar machines.

  • Betting services.

  • Golf-related businesses, including the sale of club memberships, golf tickets.

  • Lottery businesses.

Regarding why petroleum is an essential commodity subjected to the special consumption tax: The imposition of the special consumption tax on petroleum products is similar to excise taxes. Producers and importers of petroleum products must pay this tax. According to the Law on Special Consumption Tax, this tax, along with others like beer and alcohol, is intended to encourage people to use petroleum products more economically. Therefore, based on the current legal regulations, petroleum falls under the category of items subject to the special consumption tax.


Về bản chất, xăng là loại tài nguyên có hạn. Chính vì vậy, để tiết kiệm việc sử dụng loại nguyên liệu có giới hạn này, nhà nước đã đánh thuế tiêu thụ đặc biệt lên loại hàng hóa này.
Essentially, petroleum is a finite resource. Because of this scarcity, the government imposes the special consumption tax on this commodity to encourage its economical use and conserve this limited resource.

Subjects not subject to Special Consumption Tax

The entities exempt from the special consumption tax, as stipulated in Article 3 of the Law on Special Consumption Tax 2008, amended and supplemented in 2016, include:

Goods listed in Clause 1 of Article 2 of the Law on Special Consumption Tax are not subject to the special consumption tax in the following cases:

- Goods manufactured or directly processed for export by establishments or subcontracted to other businesses for export.

- Imported goods, including:

  • Humanitarian aid, non-refundable aid; gifts for state agencies, political organizations, socio-political organizations, socio-political-professional organizations, social organizations, socio-professional organizations, armed forces units, gifts for individuals in Vietnam as regulated by the Government.

  • Goods passing through or transiting customs or border gates of Vietnam, goods in transit as regulated by the Government.

  • Goods temporarily imported, re-exported, temporarily exported, or re-imported that are exempt from import and export taxes within the prescribed period as per laws on export and import taxes.

  • Foreign individuals' or organizations' equipment under diplomatic immunity standards; personal baggage under duty-free standards; imported goods for duty-free sale as regulated by the law;

– Aircraft, yachts used for business purposes involving transporting goods, passengers, tourists, and those used for security and defense purposes.

– Ambulance cars; vehicles transporting prisoners; funeral hearses; vehicles designed to accommodate both seated and standing passengers carrying 24 or more individuals; vehicles operating within amusement parks, entertainment, sports areas without registration for public traffic participation.

– Imported goods into non-customs-duty zones; goods from domestic sources sold in non-customs-duty zones and solely used within these zones; goods traded between non-customs-duty zones, excluding passenger cars with less than 24 seats.


Entities subject to the Special Consumption Tax

Entities subject to the special consumption tax include organizations and individuals involved in the production, importation of goods, and the provision of services falling within the scope of items subjected to the special consumption tax. In cases where organizations or individuals engage in export activities by purchasing goods subject to the special consumption tax from production establishments for export but end up consuming these goods domestically instead of exporting them, these organizations or individuals engaged in export activities are liable for paying the special consumption tax.


Tax advisory services by RSM Vietnam

Corporate Income Tax ("CIT") is one of the most crucial taxes closely associated with all business and production activities, deeply influencing investment plans, business strategies, and financial aspects of enterprises. With the constant evolution of businesses in the modern era, the regulations concerning CIT continually undergo changes annually to align with the government's economic and social development strategies. However, these changes have led to challenges for numerous enterprises, even large-scale ones with high compliance consciousness, in comprehending and promptly adhering to the regulations accurately, consequently leading to risks involving tax reclaim, administrative penalties, late tax payments during tax inspections. Some typical risks include:


  • Risks of late submission of CIT finalization returns, CIT payments.

  • Risks of improper provisional CIT payments.

  • Risks of non-compliance with prescribed preferential tax rates.

  • Risks of improperly identifying deductible expenses, particularly expenses with high risk elements such as expenses with related parties, interest expenses with affiliated businesses, etc.

  • Risks of insufficiently updating recurring tax regulations that may be effective midway through the year or apply to tax periods preceding the effective date of the document, resulting in inadequate tax planning.

  • Other qualitative risks.

Therefore, businesses require a proactive partner to accompany and support them in monitoring and promptly reviewing emerging issues as well as potential risks.

Các chuyên gia thuế của RSM Việt Nam luôn sẵn sàng cung cấp cho doanh nghiệp các dịch vụ hữu ích để đảm bảo tính tuân thủ, đồng thời giúp doanh nghiệp nhận diện được mọi rủi ro tiềm ẩn về thuế và cơ hội tiết kiệm thuế
The tax experts at RSM Vietnam are always ready to provide enterprises with valuable services to ensure compliance and help identify all potential tax risks and opportunities for tax savings.

Understanding this, our tax experts are committed to offering businesses useful services to ensure compliance while assisting in identifying all potential tax risks and opportunities for tax savings. Moreover, with our long-standing working relationship with the General Department of Taxation, local tax authorities, and other government agencies, we also aid businesses in working more effectively with the government and tax authorities.


Our services include:

  • Assistance in preparing corporate income tax finalization returns.

  • In-depth tax review services.

  • Regular advisory services.

  • Support services for tax inspections.

  • Case-specific advisory services.

  • Assistance in applying for Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs).

  • Government relationship support.

Contact us today to explore how our tax advisory experts can assist with Corporate Income Tax compliance.

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RSM VIETNAM AUDITING & CONSULTING COMPANY LIMITED - Hanoi Office

25th Floor, Tower A, Discovery Complex Building, No 302 Cau Giay Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi

T: 024 3795 5353


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