LEGAL UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2022 – NEW REGULATIONS ON E-GAMBLING FOR FOREIGNER BUSINESS

Issue September 2022

Trinh Hoang Lien
Partner

Phan T.Lan Phuong 
Legal Assistant

There are some changes in the regulations on electronic gambling for foreigners business after the issuance of the Decree No. 121/2021/ND-CP dated December 27, 2021 by the Government regulating the business of prize-winning electronic games for foreigners in the territory of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Decree No. 121”) replacing Decree No. 86/2013/ND-CP dated 29th July, 2013, Decree 175/2016/ND-CP dated 15th February, 2017 and Decree 151/2018/ND-CP dated 7th November, 2018 (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Decree 86”). Decree 121 takes effect from 12th February, 2022 and is detailed by Circular 39/2022/TT-BTC (“Circular 39”) dated 24th June, 2022 and Circular 09/2022/TT-NHNN (“Circular 09”) dated 12th July, 2022. This article summarizes notable changes that have significant implications for this business.

1. Persons eligible for participating in e-gambling

Regulations on people eligible for participating in e-gambling under new regulations are stricter than those in the Decree 86, specifically, foreigners and overseas Vietnamese, who legally enter Vietnam with valid passports or international travel documents issued by foreign competent authorities and visa is in validity; have full civil act capacity as prescribed by Vietnamese law and willingly comply with Game Rules as well as other provisions under Decree 121.

Accordingly, Decree 121 does not allow foreigners and overseas Vietnamese illegally entering Vietnam or legally entering Vietnam but not leaving the country before visa expired   according to regulations to participate in e-gambling.

2. Business conditions and licenses

Basically, an enterprise operating this business must have two sublicenses, a certificate of eligibility for prize-winning electronic games business issued by the Ministry of Finance and a license for collection and payment in foreign currency and other foreign exchange operations issued by the State Bank before commencing its operation.

Conditions that enterprises shall fully satisfy for being issued the certificate of eligibility for prize-winning electronic games business under the Decree 121 are harder. Remaining basic regulations as those in Decree 86, such as having tourist accommodation establishments of five-star class; having an area for arranging Business Location satisfying the conditions under regulations; having managers or operators for Business Location who satisfy the conditions and standards (graduated from university and having experience in managing and operating prize-winning electronic game business for more than 3 years), having a business plan, Decree 121 sets higher conditions in respect of the followings:

  • Increasing the minimum charter capital from VND 200 billion to VND 500 billion and requiring that the profit of fiscal year preceding the year of application for the business eligibility certificate is gain;
  • Increasing the storage time of electronic equipment and camera systems for constant monitoring and surveillance of all activities in the Business Location (24/24h) to at least 180 days from the date of recording and ensuring the clear image of all footage at the following locations: the entrance and exit area of the Business Location; the area where slot machines are located; cashier area, treasury for counting cash, conventional currency and storing equipment for cash and conventional currency. The previous regulations only required minimum storage period of 30 days for such areas and 15 days for others.
  • The slot machines purchased or imported for operation shall be brand new, adhering to the technical specifications announced by manufacturers, and certified by an independent inspection organization from a state member of G7.
  • Strictly regulating the number of slot machines to be licensed. The maximum rate of machines is still 1 machine per 5 accommodation rooms as per the previous regulations, but only counted on the accommodation rooms that have been put into operation.

3. Management of conventional currency

The mechanism for issuing and “registering” conventional currency with the Department of Finance and the tax authority in respect of its model, quantity, and type before putting it into business and re-registering this information upon changes has been replaced by a mechanism of “notifying” to the Department of Finance and the tax authority as the basis for issuing invoices to calculate the revenue of the enterprise. In addition, Decree 121 also annuls the provision on basic information that the conventional currency of enterprise must contain, subsequently, the conventional currency only needs to have its mark and signs for identification.

Regarding this new regulation, Decree 121 has simplified the conditions for the form and quality of the conventional currency as well as the procedures to apply this currency in operation. Furthermore, the enterprises also ease the burden of obtaining licenses or approvals issued by competent authorities on using conventional currency.

The payment for conventional currency under the provisions of Circular 09 remain unchanged in comparison with previous regulations. Players can pay by cash, transference from overseas accounts or from their foreign currency payment accounts opened at permitted banks in Vietnam to the operator’s specialized foreign currency accounts, or by credit card. These regulations seem very limited in consideration of the emerging of numerous non-cash payment methods currently.

4. Loosen deductible expenses

Regulations on accounting expenses for such business are loosen. Specifically, the cap of hiring management fees, which was previously limited to 4% of revenue, is no longer applied.

Decree 121 and its guiding regulations shall tighten state management on such conditional business on the one hand and create a more proper environment for businesses after satisfying all regulated conditions.

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LEGAL UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2022 – Decree 25/2022: New regulations on postal service business in Vietnam

Issue September 2022

Ha Hai
Partner

Phan Minh 
Associate

Since the Government issued Decree No. 47/2011/ND-CP dated June 17, 2011 detailing the implementation of a number of provisions of the Postal Law (“Decree 47”), the Postal service industry in Vietnam has experienced strong growth. The postal service revenue increased from approximately VND 4,135 billion in 2010 to VND 36,950 billion in 2020, contributing about 0.8 per cent to the national GDP. However, after nearly 10 years of implementation, some contents of Decree 47 have revealed to be inconsistent with reality and out of date with the modern technological development trends. To address these issues and limitations, the Government issued Decree No. 25/2022/ND-CP on April 12, 2022, amending and supplementing a number of articles of Decree 47 (“Decree 25”). On June 1, 2022, Decree 25 came into force. The followings are some salient points of Decree 25:

1. Abolishing requirements on appraisal of investment projects

Decree 47 previously stipulates that “Foreign-invested projects with a capital of less than 15 billion VND must be appraised but not required to submit to the Prime Minister for decision on investment policies” and “Foreign-invested project with a capital of 15 billion Vietnam dong or more must be appraised before submitting to the Prime Minister for decision on investment policies”. This regulation, however, is currently incompatible with the Investment Law 2020 and its guiding documents. On the other hand, this regulation also discriminates between domestic investors and foreign investors when they engage in postal services business in Vietnam. Therefore, Decree 25 abolished this provision.

2. Abolishing regulations on financial conditions of postal enterprise

Decree 25 officially abolishes the requirement that enterprises must have a minimum capital of 02 billion VND in case of providing intra – and inter – provincial postal services and 05 billion VND in case of providing international postal services due to the ineffectiveness of this regulation in terms of state management and the barriers on market entry.

3. Supplementing regulations on notification and publication of postal service charges

The notification of postal service charges is not specified in Decree 47 but specified in Article 5 of Circular 02/2012/TT-BTTTT dated March 15, 2012 of the Ministry of Information and Communications providing detailed regulations on the supply and use of postal services. Under this regulation, enterprises must notify the postal licensing agency of any changes to the applicable postal service charges and any newly arising postal service charges within 30 days from the effective date of the new postage rates.

Decree 25 has upgraded and accomplished regulations on notification of postal service charges from Circular 02/2012/TT-BTTTT, in which the time limit for enterprises to notify changes of postal charges or apply newly arising postal charges is reduced to 05 working days from the effective date of the new postal charges. Notifications can be made through the online information system. The postal licensing agency shall be entitled to use the postage rate information announced by companies for the purpose of analyzing, synthesizing, forecasting market price fluctuations and building a database and shall take responsibility for supervising, examining and inspecting the content of notices of postal service charges in accordance with law.

In addition to the aforementioned notification requirements, the enterprise is also obliged to publicize the postal service charges since it commences offering the service in one or several forms, such as posting at the service points, notifying in writing, publishing on the website, or in other forms to facilitate the observation and recognition of all entities. The postal service charges publicized by the companies must be consistent with those that are announced to the competent postal state agencies.

4. Abolishing the requirement to analyze the feasibility and socio-economic benefits in the application for a postal license

Previously, Decree 47 required enterprises applying for a postal license to provide analysis on the feasibility and socio-economic benefits of the business plan included in the application dossier through the indicators of output, revenue, cost, number of employees, tax payable to the state budget, rate of return on investment in the next 3 years from the year of application for a postal license. However, through the practice of appraising applications, the Ministry of Information and Communications found that this requirement contributes little in proving the feasibility of the business plan, causing difficulties and costly damage for enterprises as well as interfering deeply in production and business activities of enterprises. Therefore, Decree 25 has been abolished this regulation to facilitate enterprises in participating in investment and trading in postal services.

5. Legal validity of the electronic document certifying the acceptance of a postal articles

In the context that technology postal services becoming more and more popular in the market, Decree 25 for the first time has added regulations on recognition of the legal value of electronic documents certifying the acceptance of postal articles between postal enterprises and the senders which shall have the same legal validity as a written contract between the parties.

6. Postal licensing documents must be submitted online

Decree 25 requires that the application for a postal license and the written confirmation of postal activities notice must be submitted through the online public service system instead of a hard copy submitted in person or by post to the postal authority as previously. The quantity of the application dossier to be submitted is also reduced from 03 sets (01 set of original and 02 sets of copies) to 01 set. Those revised regulations are made in line with the context that state agencies are strongly applying information technology in providing online and connective public services and in sync with the current administrative procedures improvement in all areas.

Request to amend or supplement the dossier or refusal of the dossier by competent postal state agency shall be made in writing through the online public service system. The results of handling procedures for granting postal licenses, written confirmations of notifications of postal activities are delivered directly or via the public postal service.

7. Supplementing regulations on promotion in the provision of postal services

Decree 25 stipulates that the maximum postal charge discount must not exceed 50% of the most recent postal charge that has made public. This is a brand new regulation of Decree 25. This regulation is intended to avoid the situation where enterprises take advantage of the provisions of the general law on promotion to carry out prolonged “promotions and discounts” for large customer groups, leading to unfair competition with other postal enterprises.

8. Amending and supplementing the changes to be notified

According to Decree 25, enterprises obtained a postal license and/or a written confirmation of postal activities notice must notify on either of the following changes:

  • Legal representative
  • Phone number of legal representative;
  • Charter capital of the enterprise
  • Postal service charges;
  • Postal service quality indexes;
  • Sample contract for the supply and use of postal services;

Internal regulations on complaints and compensation for damage related to postal services provided by enterprises

Accordingly, Decree 25 stipulated more clearly the changes that enterprises granted with written confirmation of postal activities notice must notify to the licensing authority. In addition, compared with the previous regulations, Decree 25 has removed the requirement to notify when there is a change in the address of the head office and contact phone number of the enterprise. the address of the head office and contact phone number of the enterprise.

9. Responsibility for storing information and documents of postal enterprises

Decree 25 supplements the postal enterprise’s responsibility to keep records of documents as follows: (i) To archive contracts on provision and use of postal services and documents confirming the acceptance of postal items for at least 5 years; (ii) To store information about senders and recipients (i.e full name, address and phone number) and information related to postal items (i.e contents of packages and parcels, accompanying documents when transported according to the provisions of law) for at least 01 year from the receipt date.

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LEGAL UPDATE – APRIL 2022 – DECREE NO. 15/2022/ND-CP DATED JANUARY 28, 2022 OF THE GOVERNMENT ON TAX EXEMPTION AND REDUCTION POLICIES ACCORDING TO RESOLUTION NO. 43/2022/QH15 DATED JANUARY 28, 2022 OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Issue April 2022

Nguyen T. Thu Trang
Associate

Nguyen T. Lien Lien 
Legal Assistant

After the issuance of the National Assembly’s Resolution No. 43/2022/QH15 on fiscal and monetary policies to support the socio-economic development and recovery program (“Resolution 43”), on January 28, 2022, the Government issued Decree No. 15/2022/ND-CP on tax exemption and reduction policies (“Decree 15”) according to the above-mentioned Resolution 43/2022/QH15 to implement the tax exemption and reduction policy in the National Assembly’s fiscal policy.

Value-added Tax Reduction from February 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022

In order to facilitate entities, individuals and tax administration departments in application with specialized tax legal regulations, Decree 15 provides the reduction of value-added tax (“VAT”) for goods and services subject to the VAT rate of 10%, and also clearly states the goods and services not eligible for VAT reduction, as particulars:

  1. Telecommunication, financial activities, banking activities, securities, insurance, trading of real estate, metal and precast metal products, mining products (excluding coal mining), coke mining, refined oil, chemical products;
  2. Goods and services subject to excise tax;
  3. Information technology as prescribed in the laws on information technology.

The reduction of VAT shall be applied consistently in all stages including import, production, processing, trading, except for coal products which the reduction of VAT is only applied to the stage of mining for purpose of sale. Accordingly, the VAT reduction is determined according to the tax calculation method and shall be applied from February 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, specifically including:

  1. For businesses whose VAT payable is calculated by tax credit method, the businesses are entitled to the VAT tax rate of 8% for their goods and services;
  2. For businesses whose VAT payable is calculated per percentage on revenue, the businesses are entitled to reduction of 20% of the percentage rate to calculate VAT for their goods and services.

Procedures for VAT Reduction

In order to apply the deducted VAT rate, businesses must issue separate invoices for goods and services subject to VAT reduction. In case the businesses fail to issue separate invoices, the VAT reduction prescribed under Decree 15 will not be applied. For cases where the businesses issued an invoice and declared at the tax rate or percentage to calculate VAT that has not yet been deducted, the seller and the buyer shall make a minutes detailing the mistakes and the seller must issues and deliver an adjusted invoice to the buyer for the application of VAT reduction. Businesses declare goods and services eligible for VAT reduction according to the declaration on “VAT reduction according to Resolution 43” together with the value-added tax declaration.

Reduction of Expenses for Supporting and Financing the Covid-19 Prevention and Control

Decree 15 has additionally provided for the case that an enterprise provides support and sponsorship through the transfer of this donation to its parent company. In case the enterprise is a member unit, it is required to meet following conditions to be eligible for deduction of support and sponsorship expenses upon determination of deductible expenses:In addition to the expenses prescribed in laws on excise tax, in the corporate income tax period of 2022, expenses for supporting and financing the Covid-19 prevention and control in cash and in kind are included in deductible expenses for determination of taxable income for corporate income tax amounts through certain organizations including Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee at all levels, medical facilities, educational institutions, press agencies and other agencies specified under Decree 15.

  1. The parent company must have a minutes or document certifying the expenses of support or sponsorship signed and stamped by the representatives of enterprises being the member unit and parent company;
  2. The enterprise has legal invoices and documents for support or finances in cash or in kind as prescribed by law;
  3. The parent company has a written confirmation of the supports and finances of the member unit; and
  4. The parent company provides supports and finances through certain organizations  listed in Decree 15.

This is a new regulation in Decree 15 compared to the corresponding regulations in Decree 44/2021/ND-CP on guidelines for deductible expenses upon determination of income subject to corporate income tax regarding enterprise/organization’s grants to prevention and control of Covid-19 pandemic and is supplemented on the basis of arising expenses of supports and finances from economic groups in Vietnam.

Decree 15 takes effect from February 1, 2022.

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LEGAL UPDATE – APRIL 2022 – Vietnam’s Virtual Hearings under new regulations: Step-by-step approaches for e-Court system

Issue April 2022

Nguyen Dang Viet
Partner

Nguyen Ngoc Ly 
Assisting Lawyer

1. Overview

Facing numerous difficulties and delays amid the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, courts across the globe have been utilizing their electronic systems in order to implement remote courts.  Such movement is an appropriate solution to balance public health directives with the need to continue upholding the rule of law and thus Vietnam is no exception. Indeed, the Vietnamese government has been applying a series of technological solutions to develop electronic court system.

Within the past 2 years, considered as a component of the e-court platform, term “virtual court hearing” has been gradually used in Vietnam as the possible solution to support physical hearings specially when the pandemic continues to disrupt litigation practice. In many countries, thanks to virtual hearings stakeholders dont have to come to courtrooms.

In this regard, the National Assembly of Vietnam issued Resolution 33/2021/QH15 dated 12 November 2021 (“Resolution 33”) to regulate virtual hearings as a coexistent method with the current method of hearings.

Notably, a Joint Circular issued by the People’s Supreme Court of Vietnam, the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice on December 15, 2021 (Joint Circular 05/2021/TTLT-TANDTC-VKSNDTC-BCA-BQP-BTP, “Joint Circular 05”) aims to set out the guidelines and procedures on organizing online court hearings which took effect from February 1, 2022.

A virtual hearing may be conducted by using videoconference or teleconference facilities, where cases are progressed without the need for participants to attend the court in person. From the current legal perspective, a  virtual hearing court is held in a courtroom, using electronic devices connected to each other via a network, allowing the defendant, victims, litigants and other participants to join the court session from outside the courtroom, but still ensuring they are able to fully follow the hearings through images and sounds, and to fully take part in the hearing by verbalizing and actions continuously and publicly proceeding at the same time of the court’s proceedings.[1]

2. Cases and authority of holding online hearings

According to Resolution 33/2021/QH15 (Art.1.1), the People’s Court is entitled to hold online court sessions for first-instance trial and appellate trial of the cases that satisfy the following 02 conditions: Cases and authority of holding online hearings

  • Criminal, civil and administrative cases having simple facts and characteristics;
  • Cases having clear factual documents and evidences.

However, e-hearings shall be not applied for:

  • Criminal, civil and administrative cases related to State secrets;
  • Criminal cases for crimes in national security specified in Chapter XIII of the Penal Code;
  • Criminal cases for crimes of against peace, humanity and war crimes specified in Chapter XXVI of the Penal Code.

3. General guides on holding Virtual Hearings

The organization of online court hearings is carried out according to the general principles of organizing the hearings of cases specified in the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code, the Civil Procedure Code 2015 and the Law on Administrative Procedure 2015. Besides, an important legal basis for the People’s Court to organize an online trial is the Resolution 33 and the Joint Circular 05 with some notable points as follows:

3.1  Obligation of the competent authorities

In the stage of preparation for an e-court hearing and decision to bring a case to trial, the court and relevant authorities (including procuracies, detainment centres and legal aid centers) have to coordinate effectively to ensure that the e-hearing is organized in compliance with applicable regulations.[2]

The court as the host of the virtual hearing shall ensure that all parties are properly notified of the virtual hearing so that necessary technical arrangements are made by the parties to test and connect to the e-platform.

3.2  Technical and procedural requirements

Online hearings shall be held by setting up 02 types of connecting points.

The main connecting point or an online courtroom may be at the Court’s headquarters or at a location selected by the Court, held in accordance with the provisions of Circular 01/2017/TT-TANDTC with the compulsory participants (the Trial Panel, the Court Clerk and the procurator assigned to handle the case).

The aforementioned e-courtroom shall be fully equipped with the devices for the online hearing such as lighting system, transmission lines and network equipment, sound systems and image display device, data and power and, etc.

For most civil, administrative or criminal trials, the component points only need to meet the basic conditions of space, image quality and sound to ensure online transmission of the trial. For a criminal court hearing where a component pount is located at a detention facility, separate regulations must be met according to Circular No. 01/2017/TT-TANDTC dated July 28, 2018 of the Chief Justice of the People’s Court. The Supreme People regulates the courtroom.

The participants other than the judges shall joint the hearing through a maximum of 03 component connecting points accepted by the Court.

In addition to the normal procedures as prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Code, the Civil Procedure Code and the Administrative Procedures Law, the online court hearing has other requirements,[3]  e.g. identifying participants in the e-hearing; the dissemination of some information about the online hearing at the opening of the same by the presiding judge.

3.3 General requirements for participants

To attend a hearing virtually, the participants have to comply with the notable etiquettes as follows:

·       Keep the camera and audio on at all times;

·       Do not create any extraneous and distracting noises.

·       Dress appropriately for court when appearing via videoconference;

·       Do not walk around or step away during a videoconference meeting unless allowed by the judge;

·       Ensure the confidentiality and the safety of the court, do not take photos, record audio or distributing documents on the media, etc.

·       Present ID documents as required by the court.

4. Conclusion

Vietnam is applying timely IR4.0 to virtual court hearings, which may bring benefits for stakeholders. virtual court hearings shall save time and costs, and be accessible. If Vietnam develop well such system, it shall improve the court capacity and to avoid the stagnancy of case settlements.

[1] Article 1.2 Resolution 33/2021/QH15

[2] Chapter II Joint Circular 05/2021/TTLT-TANDTC-VKSNDTC-BCA-BQP-BTP

[3] Article 13 Joint Circular 05

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BIZCONSULT ADVISED AND OBTAINED THE FOREIGN CONSTRUCTION OPERATION PERMIT FOR GE HYDRO TO UNDERTAKE THE M&E WORKS FOR THE HOA BINH HYDRO EXPANSION PROJECT

April 19, 2022

During the partnership, Bizconsult supported GE Hydro in obtaining the foreign construction operating permission for the M&E work on the Hoa Binh Hydropower Expansion project. The Hoa Binh Hydropower Expansion is a large-scale project with significant financial capital. This transaction was led by Senior Partner Le Hong Phong and assisted by Associate Phan Van Huy.

BIZCONSULT PARTNERED WITH BRIDGEPOINT ADVISERS II LIMITED TO CONDUCT LEGAL DUE DILIGENCE RELATED TO VIETNAM IN A GLOBAL M&A TRANSACTION

April 19, 2022

Acted as Vietnamese counsel, Bizconsult performed Vietnam-related legal due diligence for Bridgepoint Advisers II Limited in relation to a M&A transaction at a global level, whereby Ropes & Gray were acting for Bridgepoint (the Purchaser) who had agreed terms for the acquisition of the Achilles Group (the Target), and Ropes & Gray had conducted UK due diligence but had requested DLA’s assistance in performing top-up foreign law due diligence on specific documentation for the purpose of obtaining W &I Insurance. This legal due diligence has the participation of Senior Partner Le Hong Phong, with the support of Associate Huynh Hoang Sang.

For further information about this transaction, please refer to below announcement:
https://www.achilles.com/media-centre/press-release/bridgepoint-to-acquire-achilles/

BIZCONSULT ADVISED AS VIETNAMESE COUNSEL FOR DUPONT C/O SKADDEN TO ACQUIRE LAIRD PERFORMANCE MATERIALS FROM ADVENT INTERNATIONAL

April 06, 2022

The lawyers of bizconsult Law Firm advised as Vietnamese counsel for DuPont c/o Skadden to acquire Laird Performance Materials from Advent International. The transaction was conducted at a global level with deal size more than US$2.3 billion; legal due diligence, non-reliance letters to W&I insurers and other transactional issues.

The case was led by Senior Partner Le Hong Phong.

For further information about this case, please refer to DuPont’s announcement:

https://www.dupont.com/news/dupont-to-acquire-laird-performance-materials.

BIZCONSULT ADVISED BIDV TO SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATE AND SIGN STRATEGIC COOPERATION CONTRACT WITH HANA FINANCIAL INVESTMENT

March 30, 2022

During the first period of 2022, the lawyers of bizconsult Law Firm advised a leading bank BIDV on a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Hana Financial Investment Co., Ltd (HFI) in relation to the transaction where BIDV Securities Company (BSC) issued 65,730,042 stocks (35%) as private placement to Hana Financial Investment Co., Ltd (HFI). The total value of the transaction is approximately US$120 equivalent to 2.700 billion VND.

This transaction was performed by Senior Partner Le Hong Phong with the support of Associate Nguyen Thi Thu Trang.

For further information about this transaction, please refer to BSC’s announcement:

https://www.bsc.com.vn/en/news/news-detail/890700-press-release-bidv-securities-company-bsc-to-issue-more-than-65-73-million-shares-for-hana-financial-investment-co-lt

LEGAL UPDATE – MARCH 2022 – Decree 02/2022/ND-CP dated on January 06, 2022 of Government on elaboration of certain articles of the Law on Real Estate Trading

Issue March 2022

Nguyen Thu Huyen
Partner

Nguyen Hoang Quan
Legal Assistant

In recent years, real estate business in Vietnam has always been on the top list of industries with the highest profit growth. According to the statistics of the PROFIT500 Ranking, conducted by Vietnam Report in the period 2017 – 2021[1], the top 7 industries achieved the highest compound annual rate (“CAGR[2]“) and made great contributions to the overall growth: Steel Industry (34.5%); Retail (17.5%); Finance sector (17.3%); Agriculture (16.0%); Food and Beverage Industry (11.9%); Chemical Industry (11.7%) and Real Estate – Construction Industry (10.8%). Not only the high profit growth rate, the real estate industry also appears many new types such as officetel, condotel, resort villa or shophouse that require a legal corridor to govern.

Facing the rapid development of the market, on January 6th, 2022, the Government issued Decree No. 02/2022/ND-CP on elaboration of certain articles of the Law on Real Estate Trading (“Decree 02”) to meet new requirements on State management in the field of real estate business. This Decree takes effect from March 1st, 2022 and replaces Decree No. 76/2015/ND-CP dated September 10th, 2015 of the Government detailing the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on real estate business (“Decree 76”). There are several notable new points in this Decree 02 as followings:

 1.Real estate businesses must disclose information

Decree 02 stipulates the responsibility for information disclosure as an eligibility criterion for organizations and individuals to conduct real estate trading, whereby real estate businesses, real estate project management Boards, and real estate trading floors must publicize information on enterprises’ websites, the headquarters of the Project Management Board, and the trading floor. The required information to be disclosed consist of (i) business information; (ii) information onn real estate put into business; (iii) information on mortgage of houses, construction works, real estate projects put into business; and (iv) information on the quantity and type of real estate products being traded, sold, transferred or leased out, and the rest are continuing to do business.[3]

The above regulation is a new regulation compared to Decree 76, concretizing the provisions in Article 6 of the Law on Real Estate Business 2014 on publicizing information about real estate put into business. This regulation aims to make information transparent in real estate business and, if it is implemented effectively, it will creates reference information channel for those in need of real estate transaction.

2. Regulations on legal capital and equity of investors:

Decree 76 stipulates the conditions for organizations and individuals doing real estate business to have a legal capital of not less than 20 billion VND. [4] This provision is annulled under the Investment Law 2020 and accordingly abolished in Decree 02.

In addition, Decree 02 supplements regulations on the owner’s equity of real estate project investors based on land use scale, consistent with regulations on owners of real estate project investors under the Decree 43/2014/ND-CP (not less than 20% of the total investment capital for projects using less than 20 hectares of land, not less than 15% of the total investment capital for projects with less than 20 hectares of land or more) as well as the method of determining this level of equity. The determination of equity specified in this Clause is based on the results of the most recent audited financial statements or the results of independent audit reports of the operating enterprise (made in the year or immediately preceding year); In the case of a newly established enterprise, the equity capital shall be determined according to the actual contributed charter capital as prescribed by law.[5]

Decree 02 clarifies conditions on financial capacity of real estate project investors which was not provided under Decree 76, ensuring synchronization between the law on real estate business and land law as well as new provisions of the Investment Law 2020.

3. Applying the general contract form in real estate business

One of the new points of Decree 02 is the application of model contracts in transactions of sale, transfer, lease, lease-purchase, sub-lease of real estate and transfer of real estate projects, including: Sample contract for sale/lease-purchase of tourist apartments, office apartments combined with accommodation, etc.

Decree 02 promulgates the form of a contract of sale/lease-purchase of tourist apartments, office apartments combined with accommodation for uniform application, which stipulates clearly and in detail the provisions related to such as: definition for “Tourist apartment/office apartment combined with accommodation”, “Shared ownership”, “Private ownership”, “Maintenance expenses”, “Warranty”, “Features of Tourist apartments/office apartments combined with accommodation are bought, sold/lease-purchased, “Rights and obligations of the parties”…This is an important step forward in terms of legality for these new real estate products.

In addition, it is worth noting that the forms of contracts specified in Decree 02 are mandatory and not only for reference in the process of signing contracts as the previous regulations in Decree 76.[6]

For real estate transfer transactions that have been signed before the effective date of the Decree 02, the parties do not need to re-sign the Contract according to the provisions of Decree 02. However, for cases where the parties are carrying out procedures for signing contracts for purchase and sale, lease-purchase of houses and construction works but the parties have not yet signed contracts by the effective date of this Decree, they must sign contracts according to regulations of Decree 02.[7]

4.  New points in buying and selling housing projects to be formed in the future and existing houses and constructions.

Decree 02 has detailed regulations on conditions for the transfer of contracts for sale and purchase of houses to be formed in the future[8], in addition to regulations on conditions for transfer of lease-purchase contracts available in Decree 76. The transfer of a contract for purchase, sale, or lease purchase of a house or construction work must satisfy the following conditions: (i) a contract is drawn up according to the provisions of Article 6 of Decree 02; (ii) are in the category of not yet submitting the application for the Certificate to the competent state agency; (iii) the contract is not subject to dispute and (iv) the house and works under the contract are not subject to distraint or mortgage to secure obligations, unless otherwise agreed by the mortgagee.

Decree 02 also stipulates in detail the order and procedures for transferring contracts of purchase, sale and lease-purchase of houses to be formed in the future and existing house and construction lease-purchase contracts.

5. The new regulation of transferring all or part of a real estate project

Decree 02 clearly stipulates the principle of transferring all or part of a real estate project. Accordingly, the transfer of real estate projects can only be done when all conditions are met and the project is being implemented under the approved schedule and contents. This is a new point and stricter requirement for real estate projects to be transferred, compared to the regulation “In case of transfer of the entire infrastructure construction investment project, the construction must be completed corresponding technical infrastructure works according to the approved schedule” [9] of the Law on Real Estate Business, forcing investors to strictly comply with the approved schedule and content of the project.

For real estate projects which investors are approved according to Law on Investment 2020 and projects that are granted with an Investment Registration Certificate in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Investment 2020, when transferring, the law on investment will be applied. Projects not falling into the above cases will be transferred according to the provisions of the Law on Real Estate Business and Decree 02.

Decree 02 includes 16 articles along with contract templates, to replace Decree 76, shall create new legal corridor for the real estate market in the coming years.

[1] https://vietnamreport.net.vn/Top-500-Doanh-nghiep-loi-nhuan-tot-nhat-Viet-Nam-nam-2021-9998-1006.html

[2] Compound Annual Growth Rate

[3] Article 4.1 (b) Decree No. 02/2022/ND-CP

[4] Article 3.1 Decree No. 76/2015/ND-CP

[5] Article 4.2 Decree No. 02/2022/ND-CP

[6] Article 7.2 (a) Decree 02/2022/ND-CP

[7] Article 14.1 and 14.2 Decree No. 02/2022/ND-CP

[8] Article 7 Decree No. 02/2022/ND-CP

[9] Article 49.1 (b) Law on Real Estate Trading on 2014

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LEGAL UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2021 – Tax exemption and reduction to assist enterprises affected by Covid-19

Issue November 2021

Nguyen Bich Van
Partner

Nguyen T. Minh Thu
Assisting Lawyer

Supportive measures to assist enterprises and people who are affected by COVID-19, the Government enacted Decree No. 92/2021/ND-CP dated 27 October 2021 to elaborate of Resolution No. 406/NQ-UBTVQH15 of National Standing Committee. Decree No.92 has detailed guidance on the contents which impact on operation of enterprises, including (i) Corporate income tax (CIT) reduction, (ii) VAT reduction, (iii) Exemption of delayed payment.

CIT reduction

Enterprises established in accordance with Vietnam’s law, Organizations that are established in accordance with the Law on Cooperatives whose revenue in the tax period of 2021 does not exceed 200 billion VND and is smaller than the revenue earned in the tax period of 2019 are subject to enjoy CIT reduction. For enterprises who are newly established, consolidated, merged or acquired for the tax period of 2020 and 2021, the reduction shall be applicable provided that the condition on revenue in the tax period of 2021 does not exceed 200 billion VND.

The reduction rate is 30% of payable amount of CIT in 2021. CIT deductible amount is counted for enterprise’s entire revenue, including incomes from capital assignment or transfer the right of capital contribution; incomes from real estate transfer (exclusive social housing); incomes from transfer of investment projects, transfer the right to invest in projects, and other incomes which are excluded when applying tax incentives under the Law on Corporate Income Tax. CIT deduction is not applicable to deducted revenue, revenues from financial activities and other incomes. The reduced CIT under Decree 92 does not include the CIT which is eligible for incentives according to prevailing regulations.

The Decree 92 also provide guidance to determine revenue for enterprises with less than 12 months of operation and declaration of tax reduction.

VAT reduction

Enterprises, organizations shall be reduced 30% of VAT’s rate or 30% of the rate for calculating VAT depending on applicable tax calculation method. The period of VAT reduction is from 01 November 2021 to 31 December 2021.

Deduction of VAT is applicable to goods, services which are heavily impacted by Covid-19, including: (i) transportation services (railway, waterway, air, and other road transport); accommodation services; food and beverage services; travel and tourism agencies, travel and tourism related or supportive services; (ii) Publishing products and services; cinematography services, TV show production, music recording and publishing; artworks, composing, art, recreation services; services of library, archives, museum, cultural activities; sport and entertainment services. The goods and services mentioned in item (ii) do not include software and online sales of goods and services.

Out of noting on how to make VAT invoice, handling issued invoices which have not been noted on tax reduction, enterprises and organizations need to declare the goods and services to be reduced VAT in the “Appendix on reduction of VAT under Resolution No. 406/NQ-UBTVQH15″ in Appendix II issued attached to this Decree together with the VAT Declaration Note.

Exemption of late payment

Enterprises, organizations which incur losses in the tax period of 2020 shall be exempted late payment amount incurred in 2020 and 2021 for on outstanding tax payable amount, land use levies and land rental. If the outstanding tax payable, land use levies, land rent are increased by enterprise itself or in accordance with decisions of the State Authorities, enterprises are not subject to pay late payment amount incurred in 2020 and 2021 for such increased amount if the taxpayer incurs a loss in 2020. The exemption, however, is not applied in the cases that late payment amount has been paid before the effective date of this Decree.

To be exempted from late payment, enterprises must submit request for exemption of late payment to responsible tax authority for determination of losses in 2020 and consideration of exemption of late payment. Time limit for consideration is 15 working days from the receipt of the taxpayer’s application form for exemption from late payment.

It should be noted that in case the tax authority wrongly determines the right to be exempted from late payment, the tax authority may revoke the decision on exemption from late payment interest and the enterprises must pay in accordance with the laws.

The Decree 92 takes effect from 19 October 2021.

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