The possibility is being considered by the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, which recently requested consultation with the General Department of Vietnam Customs in a dispatch discussing the issue.
According to the dispatch, the two companies imported LC films worth a total taxable amount of VND16,056 billion (US$707.31 million).
LC film is used in the production of liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens as well as LED displays, yet both firms declared it as zero-rated goods, attracting a favorable tax rate of zero percent.
However, according to the municipal customs department, citing an earlier guideline by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, LC screens are listed in a three-percent tax category.
Using this rate of tariff, both Samsung and Panasonic would have been taxed VND481.68 billion (US$21.18 million) on their imported LC films.
The companies are refuting the suggestion, claiming that the guideline had only been circulated internally within customs agencies and not been made known to the public.
Luu Manh Tuong, head of export-import tariff at the General Department of Vietnam Customs, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper Sunday, September 9, that it had reported the case to the Ministry of Finance and requested further instructions with regard to the potential collection of back taxes from both companies.
Tuong said Samsung Vina Electronics and Panasonic AVC Vietnam would not be liable for the amount if they are not found to be at fault for the incorrect declaration.
If that is the case, the companies would only need to ensure that future imports of LC films are declared under the new tariff rate, he added.