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According to the General Department of Taxation, as of June 20, nearly two months since the transfer took place, the local authorities have yet to receive a declaration of tax payment of the deal, while under the provisions of the Vietnamese law the deadline for submission is the 10th day after the transfer is officially completed.
In the document recently sent to the parties involved in the transfer of the Big C Vietnam supermarket chain, the General Department of Taxation announced further delay in tax payment will be rewarded by coercive measures, while at the same time, the change of ownership will not be completed.
Previously, Central Group said that it had no obligation to declare and pay tax on the deal, while Casino Group and the management board of Big C Vietnam refused to comment.
According to Savior Mwambwa, international tax campaign manager of international organisation ActionAid, Big C registered for business in Vietnam, making it obligated to comply with local laws. According to Mwambwa’s argument, it has to pay taxes for the Vietnamese government.
In this case, Casino Group, as the transferor, has an obligation to declare and pay transfer tax. However, the local authorities can require the transferee Central Group to collect the taxes, due to the size of the deal, leaving the buyer to pay back in instalments.
In December 2015, Casino Group revealed plans to sell its Big C Vietnam supermarket chain, luring both foreign and domestic retailers to a bidding game. The contestants included BJC, Central Group from Thailand, Lotte Shopping from South Korea, Dairy Farm International Holdings from Singapore, Aeon from Japan as well as Saigon Co.op and Masan Group from Vietnam.
In April, Thai company Central Group won over the remaining competitors to become the new owner of Big C Vietnam after paying $1.14 billion.
Big C Vietnam has a network of 43 stores and 30 shopping centres and achieved a net sales of €586 million ($666 million) in 2015.
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