An Overview of Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Tax

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On the books since 2010, Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Tax has been a key pillar of Vietnam’s transition to a cleaner, greener economy. In this article, we break down the key details foreign investors should know.

Like most countries around the world, Vietnam is trying to restructure its economy to be greener and more environmentally friendly. The rapidly developing Southeast Asian nation even committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) in Glasgow in 2021.

To do this, Vietnam is looking toward greater investment in cleaner, greener power-generating technologies. Furthermore, it is also looking to utilize financial and market mechanisms to encourage firms to make their businesses more environmentally friendly.

Whereas a carbon market is still being developed, there has, for over a decade now, been an environmental protection tax (EPT) enshrined in Vietnamese law. This tax has brought in billions of dong in recent years and is a key piece to Vietnam’s net-zero puzzle.

Foreign firms that intend to do business in Vietnam should familiarise themselves with the tax and what it applies to in order to ensure they can adequately assess the cost of doing business in the country. In this light, in this article, we break down Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Tax, including what it applies to and the tax rates for the specific items covered.

What is subject to the Environmental Protection Tax?

Vietnam’s EPT applies to a number of goods that can potentially be hazardous to the environment if used in excess or improperly disposed of. This includes:

  • Fossil fuels including gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel, kerosene, fuel oil, lubricants, and grease. In the event of mixed fuels comprised of both biofuel and fossil-fuel-based fuels, the EPT only applies to the fossil-fuel-based portion.
  • Coal including brown coal, anthracite coal, and other coal.
  • Hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbon (HCFC) solutions.
  • Plastic bags made from single plastic film HDPE (high-density polyethylene resin), LDPE (Low-density polyethylene), or LLDPE (Linear low-density polyethylene resin), excluding pre-packaged goods.
  • Restricted use herbicides.
  • Restricted use termite pesticides.
  • Restricted use forest product preservatives.
  • Restricted use warehouse disinfectants.

Environmental protection tax rates in Vietnam

Goods Unit VND US$
Gasoline, oil, grease      
Gasoline, except ethanol liter 4,000 $0.16
Flight fuel liter 3,000 $0.12
Diesel oil liter 2,000 $0.08
Fuel liter 1,000 $0.04
Fuel oil liter 2,000 $0.08
Lubricant liter 2,000 $0.08
Grease kg 2,000 $0.08
Brown coal ton 15,000 $0.62
Anthracite coal (anthracite) ton 30,000 $1.23
Coal fat ton 15,000 $0.62
Other coal ton 15,000 $0.62
Hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbon (HCFC) solution kg 5,000 $0.21
Plastic bags kg 50,000 $2.05
Restricted use herbicides kg 500 $0.02
Restricted use termite pesticides kg 1,000 $0.04
Restricted use forest product preservatives kg 1,000 $0.04
Restricted use warehouse disinfectants kg 1,000 $0.04

Proposed changes to the EPT

An increase to the tax on packaging: In August of this year the Ministry of Justice proposed increasing non-biodegradable packaging materials in a further effort to reduce their prevalence in Vietnam. According to the ministry, the average Vietnamese household uses one kilogram of plastic bags each month.

The proposal was to increase the tax to be more in line with other parts of the world. Currently, the rate of tax collected is VND 50,000 (US$2.05).

Extending the reduction of the EPT on petrol. In April of this year, the EPT on petrol was cut in an attempt to stimulate the economy. This cut is set to carry through until the end of this year. That said, the Ministry of Finance has proposed extending the cut into 2024. If approved it’s estimated that EPT revenue will decrease by about VND 42,822 billion (US$1.76 billion).

Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Tax moving forward

Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Tax is a key pillar of its approach to reducing the impact of its economic development on the natural environment. Foreign firms that are looking to engage in business in Vietnam should be aware of the implications of this tax on their business. Vietnamese tax law, however, can sometimes be difficult to navigate and firms looking for support ensuring they are compliant with Vietnam’s EPT should consult local tax professionals like the tax experts at Dezan Shira and Associates.

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