Viet Nam is enjoying an extended period of rapid economic growth. Growth has contributed to a corresponding increase in government tax revenues, which have been used to fund infrastructure development, provide social services to millions of Vietnamese and finance other vital functions of the public sector. Tax reform is a pressing issue facing the Government of Viet Nam. Policy makers face important questions regarding the appropriate amount of local versus central control over tax rates, rules and collection. These decisions will have an impact on the structure of incentives facing individuals and firms. They will also shape the government’s ability to redistribute revenues from rich to poor provinces. The present UNDP Policy Dialogue Paper represents a small contribution to the debate. The paper does not seek to answer these large questions, but rather presents some basic empirical information collected in Viet Nam ’s most wealthy province. The intent is to demonstrate how the present unitary system has been implemented in a surplus province. The long term sustainability of the tax system in Viet Nam is crucial to economic growth and public spending on essential health and education services. A viable and fair tax system is therefore central to the government’s strategy to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to build a strong, prosperous country in which all Vietnamese people have an equal chance to develop to their full human potential.
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