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Laos Pursues Illegally Imported Automobiles


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Laos' government has began taking steps to address the country's chronic problem with illegally imported vehicles.


Measures will be taken to prohibit and regulate the sale of illegally imported automobiles, as well as to recoup lost revenue.


According to the Vientiane Times, the Prime Minister recently issued an order urging ministries and local authorities to collaborate in monitoring illicit vehicles and stopping future imports.


Individuals, corporations, and organizations suspected of owning or trading in unlawfully imported automobiles will be scrutinized, with owners given one last opportunity to come forward and pay all applicable taxes and fees.


Meanwhile, the Vientiane Capital Department of Finance has issued a notice requiring all people, corporations, and organizations running unlawfully imported automobiles to produce their documents to authorities by November 5th.


Those who fail to provide their documents will have their vehicles impounded and may face criminal charges.


Under existing tax legislation, seized vehicles become state property.


Illegal Imports are a long-term issue.

For many years, the government has attempted to eradicate the practice of illegally importing vehicles, with varied results.


Officials were asked to investigate 5,639 unlawfully imported vehicles in January 2017, with the state losing an estimated LAK 66 billion in income.


The Lao government then issued an order in November 2019 to investigate vehicle dealers, with tax officers being directed to take harsher action to address the issue of illegal imports.


However, according to a car dealer in Vientiane Capital, the majority of illegally imported vehicles are luxury vehicles ordered by individuals rather than through car dealers.


Vehicles are frequently ordered from third nations and trafficked across borders or imported with fake documentation claiming they would be utilized for projects, allowing them to avoid paying customs fees.


"We want to see authorities working harder to inspect illicit vehicles thoroughly and make sure their owners pay the same taxes as everyone else," he said.




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