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Research by Country/Region January 16, 2018  
VIETNAM: CUSTOMS, TAXES and DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS for IT PRODUCTS and SERVICES IMPORTS

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A. Is this country a member of the Information Technology Agreement?

B. Customs documentation requirements for IT products

C. Software: duties and taxes, updates, licenses, electronically delivered

D. IT services: tax treatment and other regulations

E. Refurbished, used, or repaired computer equipment imports


A. IS THIS COUNTRY A MEMBER OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT?
NO.
Signatories to the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) have eliminated their import duties on a wide range of information technology products, including software and computer hardware. For more information on the ITA, and exact tariff elimination schedules of signatories, click here.
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B. CUSTOMS DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS FOR IT PRODUCTS

What are the documentation requirements for the physical import of software? For other information technology products?
According to Vietnam’s Law on Customs dated June 29, 2001, and relevant guidance, the customs documentation required for imported goods basically include:
1) customs declaration paper,
2) sales contract,
3) commercial invoice,
4) goods packaging bills, and
5) certificate of origin.

The Certificate of Origin (C/O) requirement can be a problem for U.S. exporters doing business in Vietnam. This certificate is issued in many countries by government agencies or chambers of commerce and industry. However, neither the U.S. Government nor the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issues certificates of origin. Thus, many U.S. companies and their Vietnamese business partners face problems with Vietnam’s Customs offices. (Vietnamese authorities are expecting that the U.S. Government will officially announce this policy, clearing the way for the Vitenamese authorties to inform the local customs offices not to require such C/O for U.S. exports.)

Other requirements:
1) Imported IT products must show a “Certificate of Standard Compliance” issued by Vietnam’s Ministry of Post and Telematics.

2) Content of some software packages relevant to cultural and sensitive information must be checked and vetted by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture and Information.
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C. SOFTWARE: DUTIES and TAXES, UPDATES, LICENSES, ELECTRONICALLY DELIVERED

DUTIES AND TAXES ON SOFTWARE IMPORTS

Are duties assessed on the intellectual property of the software or on the medium on which is it presented?
Software imports are duty-free.

Are taxes assessed on the intellectual property of the software or on the medium on which is it presented?
Tax is only levied on the physical value of imported diskette/CD-ROM (i.e. the medium containing the software). (E.g. a $US3 CD contains a software valued at thousands of USD, tax is levied based on the $US3 value of the diskette/CD-ROM.)

Note: Vietnam Customs has been studying Article 7 of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) regarding the definition of the value to be taxed under the international general rules to apply in 2003. At present, if imported software is declared according to its value shown in the sales contract and commercial invoice, Vietnam Customs considers the regular papers and accepts them as basis to tax.

Is customized software treated differently than packaged software?
So far, there are no legal documents in Vietnam mentioning a distinction between customized and packaged software.
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IMPORTS OF SOFTWARE UPDATES

What are the customs duties and tax implications for software sold with updates when the full sales price, including cost of updates, is shown on the original commercial invoice? Are duties and taxes paid on that amount? What happens when the updates are sent at a later date? Are duties/taxes applied again? If so, based on what value? How should information presented on the commercial invoice for the original and subsequent shipments to avoid paying duties/taxes more than once on a single sale?
So far, Vietnam’s current laws and regulations are not precise and there is no guidance on this particular issue. If there is no clear and precise distinction between the initial software shipment and its update, double taxation may occur. To avoid such a problem, the value of the software update should be clearly declared and stated.
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SOFTWARE LICENSES: CUSTOMS CLASSIFICATION, IMPORT DUTIES, TAXES, OTHER

Are software licenses classified in Harmonized System 4907?
It is not clear if/where they are classified by Vietnamese Customs authorities.

Are import duties/taxes applied? If so, on what cost/price base are they levied?
There are no regulations stated in official documents regarding this issue. In fact, the relevant Vietnamese agencies address issues such as this on a case-by-case basis, according to their experience and precedent.

Are withholding or other additional taxes applied on software licenses? If yes, how?
See above.

If a U.S. license agreement is included in the packaging or is part of the installation/registration of shrink-wrapped software imported from the United States, would that agreement be binding on consumers in your market? If so, would U.S. or local laws pertain?
This issue is quite new to Vietnam. As such, there are no regulations stated in official documents regarding this issue. In fact, the relevant Vietnamese agencies address issues such as this on a case-by-case basis, according to their experience and precedent.
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SOFTWARE DELIVERED OVER THE INTERNET/ELECTRONICALLY DELIVERED SOFTWARE

Are taxes applied to software delivered to the end-user over the Internet? If so, on what value?
As of yet, this issue is not regulated by the Vietnamese government.

Would the situation be different if this software were instead delivered to a distributor who has a license to produce (replicate) and sell the software?
See above.

What are the documentation requirements for the electronically delivered import of digitized products (i.e. software, movie downloads) over the Internet or other networks?
As of yet, this issue is not regulated by the Vietnamese government. Related agencies still leave this issue open.

Must an electronically delivered software import be accompanied by a physical shipment of the same product?
As of yet, this issue is not regulated by the Vietnamese government.
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D. IT SERVICES: TAX TREATMENT AND OTHER REGULATIONS

Are services (i.e. training, set-up, etc) relating to the sale of software taxed? If so, at what rate and based on what value?
No VAT (nor import duties) are applicable to the said services, but personal income tax and corporate income tax are applied. Customs procedures are not quite clear thus far.

Are U.S. IT solution providers permitted to send personnel into the country to set up hardware/software-related systems?
U.S. IT solution providers are permitted to send personnel into Vietnam for such a purpose.

Are special visa, work permits, and/or professional certification by an accredited body required?
In general, foreign workers entering Vietnam must have an entry visa issued by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security. However, it should be noted that personnel sent to Vietnam for short-term entrance must be invited by a Vietnamese legal entity that is licensed to operate in the IT and/or telecom industry, and the person coming to Vietnam for a long term must apply for registration and work permit issued by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Labors, Invalids, and Social Affairs.
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E. REFURBISHED, USED, OR REPAIRED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT IMPORTS

1. REFURBISHED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
Is the import of refurbished computer hardware, parts, and accessories (including toner cartridges) permitted?If so, what are the documentation requirements? Is special labeling required? What value should be shown on the invoice?
The said goods are on the list of goods prohibited for import into Vietnam in the period 2001-2005 issued by the Government of Vietnam. However, in reality, this matter is not quite clear in Vietnam. Parts and accessories are not permitted, but sets of refurbished or used computers are imported into Vietnam. Vietnam Customs agrees to import on a case by case basis.

How are duties and taxes assessed?
In cases where refurbished imports are permitted (see above), such goods are subject to 5% import duties and 5% Value Added Tax (VAT).
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2. USED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
Is the import of used computer hardware, parts, and accessories (including toner cartridges) permitted?
Same as for refurbished equipment. See answers above.
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3. REPAIRED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
Are duties and taxes assessed on the re-import of repaired computer equipment?
Duties and taxes are levied on the added value of the repair contracts (based on repair bills).

How should the commercial invoice appear?
A commercial invoice indicating the consolidated value and declaration paper on temporary export for repair/maintenance is very important to determine the basis to define the tax rate.
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RESPONSE INFORMATION

This response was prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce/Commercial Service in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February 2003. For further clarification please contact:
Nguyen Dzung
Commercial Assistant
U.S. Embassy, Hanoi
Phone: (84-4) 831-4650, ext. 160
Fax: (84-4) 831-4540
nguyen.dzung@mail.doc.gov

Special Notes: The above information is intended to serve only as unofficial guidance. In seeking to obtain government rulings in specific cases, it will often be necessary to refer to special laws, separate regulations and announcements, and case-by-case decisions by the government. Beyond the general guidelines shown above, legal counsel should be retained at an early stage of consummation of a major procurement contract, and before entering into any legal commitments.

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