Enterprises participating in the circulation of imported goods in the market should take heed of the important regulations on invoices, documents (e.g. their types and time limits of production), and the handling of relevant violations.
According to the Joint Circular No. 60/2011/TTLT-BTC-BCT-BCA detailing the modes of invoices and documents for imports circulating in the market, establishments involving in the business of imported goods need to have a firm grasp of certain provisions on: ways to identify imports circulating in the market; types of accompanying invoices and documents; time limits of production of invoices and documents; and the handling of violations.
1. What constitutes the imports circulating in the market?
Imports circulating in the market include those which are being transported en route; displayed for sale; or preserved at warehouses, ports, storing yards, manufacturing facilities, business establishments, or other locations.
In addition, it is essential to acknowledge that several types of imports, although currently being transported or placed elsewhere, are not subject to being mentioned in this article of PLF, including but not limited to: goods temporarily imported for re-export; goods temporarily exported for re-import; goods imported for investment project implementation; raw materials and supplies imported for performance of processing contracts with foreign traders; imports in border-gate transfer; goods transported from port to port; and goods in transit currently under customs inspection and supervision; etc.
2. Types of invoices and documents accompanying imports when circulating in the market
In regards of the goods directly imported by business establishments, when displayed for sale at stores or preserved at warehouses, Ex-warehousing-cum-internal Transportation Bills are required in case of dependent cost-accounting in the same province or city, plus invoices in case of independent cost-accounting. In the event where the goods are solely preserved at warehouses, Warehousing Receipts are compulsory.
Concerning the goods not directly imported by establishments, when displayed for sale at stores, transported, or preserved at warehouses, there must be invoices and documents issued by goods sellers.
Where establishments transfer the imports to their branches, shops, and stores, etc. in other provinces or cities, or just between their branches, invoices or Ex-warehousing-cum- internal Transportation Bills and Transfer Orders are required.
For imports purchased from agencies selling confiscated goods or National Reserves Agencies, sale invoices issued by these agencies are mandatory.
In case of imports being gifts or duty-free presents; goods within allowable duty-free luggage quotas; duty-free goods sold in border- gate economic zones; goods exchanged by border residents within allowable duty-free quotas that are on the List of Goods manufactured by countries sharing the same importing boundaries with Vietnam; which are transported, displayed for sale, or preserved at warehouses outside border-gate economic zones, enterprises shall produce documents to prove that taxes have been declared and paid for such goods.
3. Time limits of production of invoices and documents
It is mandatory for business establishments to produce invoices and documents proving the legality of the following goods upon request of inspection agencies: Imports transported en route or preserved at warehouses, storing yards or other places that are not under the ownership of or used by business establishments; and imports which are on the list of those subject to conditional import under relevant laws. In case the establishments have no representative to directly escort such goods, the recipient or vehicle driver must be authorised. If invoices and documents fail to be produced at the time of inspection, inspection agencies shall temporarily seize goods to wait for verification.
Regarding the imports which are currently displayed for sale, preserved at warehouses, ports, or storing yards, and owned or used by establishments, invoices and documents proving the legality of the goods must be produced within 72 hours after such goods are examined.
4. Handling of violations related to invoices and documents
Administrative penalties shall be imposed on business establishments whose imports circulate in the market without invoices and documents, or with invoices and documents that are either counterfeit, invalid, expired, or falsely created; or where such establishments fail to produce required invoices and documents within a prescribed time limit. That being said, enterprises are entitled to lodge complaints, denunciations, or file administrative lawsuits against decisions on handling violations. However, during such complaints and denunciations, or while waiting for the Court’s decision, enterprises are still required to comply strictly with the decisions of competent authorities.