The present paper analyzes the incidence and progressivity of Vietnamese state income transfers using survey data from the Vietnamese Household Living Standards Survey 2004. Data quality and sample selection issues are highlighted, especially in the coverage of rural-urban migrants. Simple income-based profiles of incidence are matched to several influences that confound and complicate the measurement of progressivity. The issue of the informal economy is highlighted through analysis of both the extent of private inter-household transfers and remittances and their relationship with state transfers, and in the informal charges that accompany uptake of state services and other petty corruption. Second, the issue of user-charges for health and education services is considered, as a considerable portion of state transfers are related to the take up of schooling and health care. Third, the issue of behavioral effects is also considered, concentrating on private interhousehold transfers. The paper concludes by drawing together the evidence and the obstacles to measurement and progressivity to argue a range of data collection, methodological and policy recommendations.