Vietnam: Shall streamers be subject to personal income tax payment?

Streamers aka social media streamers are people who create "content" on the network and make money through it. So is their income taxable as personal income?

Streamer có phải đóng thuế thu nhập cá nhân không, Luật Thuế thu nhập cá nhân 2007

Along with the term Youtuber, Streamer is a fairly new term that has appeared in recent times. This is a group of people specializing in creating content with many different topics from entertainment, music, food, etc. then proceeding to record videos on social networks to seek income from viewers through many forms, typically "donation" in cash (through intermediaries or directly on social networks). The streamer industry is becoming more and more hot and there have been many people who have achieved certain achievements in this field, having a significant income. So the question is whether that income is subject to personal income tax?

1. Streamer tax base?

First of all, the Streamer's tax status must be determined. Streamer is a taxpayer according to Article 2 of the Law on Personal Income Tax 2007 of Vietnam:

Article 2. Taxpayers

1. Personal income taxpayers include residents who earn taxable incomes specified in Article 3 of this Law inside and outside the Vietnamese territory and non-residents who earn taxable incomes specified in Article 3 of this Law inside the Vietnamese territory.

2. Resident means a person who satisfies one of the following conditions:

a/ Being present in Vietnam for 183 days or more in a calendar year or 12 consecutive months counting from the first date of their presence in Vietnam;

b/ Having a place of habitual residence in Vietnam, which is a registered place of permanent residence or a rented house for dwelling in Vietnam under a term rent contract.

Thus, Streamers in Vietnam are subject to personal income tax. Secondly, the amount of money Streamers earn through "Donating" is considered taxable income as prescribed in Point a Clause 1 Article 3 of the Law on Personal Income Tax 2007 of Vietnam. To be specific:

Article 3. Taxable incomes

Incomes liable to personal income tax include the following kinds of income, except for incomes eligible for tax exemption specified in Article 4 of this Law:

1. Incomes from business activities, including:

a/ Incomes from goods production or trading or service provision;

Therefore, the amount of money Streamers earn from the "Donating" of viewers is taxable income. Streamers who make money from this must pay personal income tax according to Vietnam's personal income tax law.

2. Some inadequacies about collecting personal income tax from streamers

Currently, the collection of personal income tax for streamers is considered a dilemma for state agencies. For Youtubers - those who also make money online, state agencies can still collect taxes through a close coordination mechanism between tax authorities and multinational corporations such as Google, Facebook, etc. Specifically, each month when making payments to individuals in Vietnam, Google and Facebook can notify the list with the amount of money to the tax authorities so that Vietnam can aggregate and track.

However, unlike youtubers, streamers earn income from many different forms and channels besides Google or Facebook. There are streamers who make money through a third channel, which is not based in Vietnam, so it is difficult to calculate income. Besides, streamers can also hide their income, so the problem of tax arrears is still unsolved. This opens up a new tax problem that the legislature may take some time to solve.

View details at the Law on Personal Income Tax 2007 of Vietnam.

Nguyen Phu

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