On Wednesday, Netflix insisted that it was prepared to pay tax in Vietnam after a government minister accused the streaming giant of dodging its obligations to the communist nation.
This week, the information minister singled out Netflix and newcomer Apple TV for not paying tax, saying foreign platforms earn an estimated $44 million a year in revenues from a skyrocketing subscriber base across Vietnam.
On Tuesday, Nguyen Manh Hung told Vietnam’s national assembly that “Some cross-border platforms have neither paid taxes nor operated in accordance with the laws, creating unfair competition.”
But a Netflix spokesperson told AFP the company complies with relevant Vietnamese laws and is in talks with authorities on the issue.
They said in a statement that “We are supportive of the implementation of a mechanism that will make it possible for foreign service providers like Netflix to collect and remit taxes in Vietnam. However today such a mechanism does not exist.”
The streaming juggernaut’s entry into Southeast Asia has had a major impact on viewing habits.
The massive popularity of the service has pushed Netflix to invest in locally produced shows and films, such as the Vietnamese martial arts movie “Furie”.
Hung also said that some of its shows feature “violence, use of drugs, and pornography,” violating censorship laws that govern Vietnam’s tightly controlled film industry.
He also specifically singled out a Vietnam War documentary for its “wrong reflection of history”.
In 2017 Netflix removed the Stanley Kubrick classic Full Metal Jacket from its catalog after a request from the government.
Netflix’s run-in with the Vietnamese authorities comes amid increasing concern in countries around the world about taxes paid, or not, by US tech giants.
Spain said earlier this month that it is planning legislation that would impose a five percent tax on platforms such Netflix, with the aim of using the funds to boost domestic film production.