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Millions of taxpayers worry about leaks of bank account information

The new regulation that clients’ information will be shared by 30 commercial banks with taxation bodies has stirred up the public. People fear that their bank account information may be leaked.

Information security

Decree 126 that guides the implementation of the Tax Administration Law, to take effect on December 5, 2020, stipulates that commercial banks have the responsibility to provide information about the payment accounts of taxpayers to taxation agencies.

 

 

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The new regulation has raised fear about clients’ information exposure.

Some analysts said that information about bank accounts is big data, which, if provided to taxation bodies, may be leaked if the agencies are incapable of processing and storing properly.

A representative of a trade and service company in Cau Giay district in Hanoi said the company makes many transactions via its bank account daily, and if taxation bodies ask about the transactions, it will take a lot of time to explain.

“A successful businessman who leaves big amounts of money at banks may face high risks if the information about the money can be stolen by scams. Their family members may be kidnapped for blackmail,” he said.

“What is worrying is information security,” he said.

According to Nguyen Quyet from Hung Ha Co Ltd, banks have affirmed that they have effective security systems which can discover any attempt of penetration. However, clients’ information exposure has occurred fairly frequently recently.

Questions have been raised about whether the information will be secured once it is transferred to taxation agencies and if taxation bodies have a security system similar to banks.

Many e-commerce firms also expressed concern after hearing that bank account information would be transferred to taxation bodies. If the information about business activities is exposed to rivals, this will cause serious consequences.

 

Many e-commerce firms also expressed concern after hearing that bank account information would be transferred to taxation bodies. If the information about business activities is exposed to rivals, this will cause serious consequences.

 

A businessman said if companies feel insecure, they may seek non-bank financial channels to make transactions or use cash in transactions again. If so, the plan to develop e-commerce and use non-cash payment will never occur.

Vu Anh Tuan, director of Trade and Service Company 361 in Hanoi, said he was worried about how to identify who is responsible for leaked information.

“Currently, if information leaks, it will be the fault of banks. But once the new regulation takes effect, banks and taxation may blame information exposure on each other,” he said.

“In this case, claiming damages will be more complicated for victims,” he said.

No peace for the wicked

Meanwhile, Lawyer Truong Thanh Duc from Basico Law Firm, said the regulation should have been promulgated sooner. There are no concerns about accounts with transparent and legal transactions, and only the owners of accounts with abnormal transactions should feel worried.

Duc went on to say that the people who do business via internet and evade tax will worry about the new regulation. While workers with the monthly income of VND20 million or higher have to pay personal income tax, the people doing business via internet don’t pay tax even though their incomes are huge.

In the past, taxation bodies did not have enough information to detect tax evaders, or it took a lot of time to discover the evaders. But now, the new regulation will help reduce the behavior of evading tax.

Under current law, evading VND50 million or more in tax will result in imprisonment.

He said that providing information to taxation agencies will not violate the regulations on information security. This is a normal anti-tax loss activity.

The regulation clearly stipulates that the tax authority is responsible for keeping the information confidential. If someone discloses information, he or she will bear the full responsibility before the law.

Even in Switzerland, which is famous for clients’ information security, banks share information with taxation bodies to combat tax losses.

Nguyen Dac Hung, a banking expert, said the new regulation will effectively combat tax losses.

Many Vietnamese have the habit of ‘borrowing’ each other’s accounts to transfer and receive money. With the new regulation, individuals and organizations will have to open bank accounts and make transactions themselves.

Hung thinks that people with non-transparent transactions will be worried about the new regulation. They may seek other channels to make transactions or shift to use cash. If so, banks may have a source of revenue from annual service fees.

However, he believes that transactions in cash won’t be the choice of many businesspeople, because they will have to spend money on the network to collect money. 

Tran Thuy

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