美国中文杂志《中国事务》总编辑 伍 凡： 说明中国的税收已经根本不够用，要靠投资到外国企业的税收。那么，这样会造成企业家要两边收税。”
采访/易如 编辑/宋风 后制/萧宇
NYT: China Wants Taxes Paid by Citizens Living Afar
“As Chinese individuals and companies head overseas in greater numbers, the country’s tax authorities are starting to follow. China’s tax officials are now demanding that citizens start reporting exactly how much money they earn overseas and pay the tax," reported The New York Times (NYT). In fact, tax collection from overseas companies and workers isn’t a new law for China; It existed since the early 90’s. So why is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) only starting to implement the law now? —Let’s see the report.
“The government of Guangzhou, has summoned executives from 150 of the largest corporations based there to a meeting on Jan. 28 to discuss the obligation of their overseas employees to pay Chinese taxes," reported NYT on Jan. 8. Municipal governments in Beijing and other big cities have taken similar actions.
“National and municipal tax agencies in China are quietly beginning to enforce a little-known and widely ignored regulation: Citizens and companies must pay domestic taxes on their entire worldwide incomes," continued NYT.
The new rules will ban a range of international investments considered as tax shelters and will be reinforced from Feb. 1.
Prof. Xie Tian, Aiken Business School, Univ. of S. Carolina: “Most Chinese citizens who can invest overseas all belong to big companies, large state-owned corporations, or monopoly enterprises, or are CCP senior cadres." “These people are all targets of anti-corruption and are investigated without exception."
Xie Tian believes that the CCP implementing a campaign of this measure may be linked to Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign and his efforts to gain public support.
He says the tax department may also want to make trouble for those rich Chinese who are hiding huge wealth overseas. But it may take time to see any effect.
In fact, China’s outflow of capital has been intensifying.
Last January, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed that senior communist elites and their relatives had transferred up to four-trillion USD through offshore companies based in tax haven countries in the Caribbean, since 2000.
A Central Commission for Discipline Inspection member also estimated in a leaked report that in 2012 alone, the equivalent of a trillion USD was transferred overseas.
Late last year, the CCP launched the “Fox Hunting 2014″ campaign to extend their anti-corruption overseas.
Xie Tian says, overseas tax collection from enterprises and individuals is part of the CCP’s anti-corruption campaign.
Currently, different countries have different ideas on collecting their taxes domestically and worldwide. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada only collect tax from citizens in their territory, and expatriates and overseas subsidiaries are exempt from paying domestic tax. The United States collects tax globally.
In fact, the CCP had released the law to collect tax globally in 1993, following the U.S.’ example.
“While China is taking a page from the United States’ playbook, Beijing’s tax policies in some ways are even tougher," says NYT.
“The top income tax bracket in China is 45 percent, compared with 39.6 percent in the United States. That top bracket for the Chinese kicks in at $12,900 a month. The United States also allows expatriates to exempt a slowly rising sum of foreign earned income, which amounted to $99,200 last year. It then taxes the rest. In China, overseas citizens are eligible only for an extra deduction of $210 for each month they are overseas," reported NYT.
Wu Fan, Editor, China Affairs: “It shows that China’s tax revenue is not enough and it has to rely on tax from overseas companies; the entrepreneurs will be taxed on both sides."
Wu Fan says the double taxation system may lead Chinese entrepreneurs to evade it or to even change nationality. He says, most Western countries use tax on education, pensions, social insurance, etc. But in China, it belongs to the CCP, is squandered by all levels of officials, is used on capital construction investment, stability maintenance or the army, and only a very small amount goes back to the people.
Xie Tian says the law implementation must be very strictly impartial when it involves tax ratio and tax laws in financial, investment, property etc.
In 2009, U.S. Forbes released a negative “pain index" on tax by country—China ranked second; the U.S. was much lower.
Interview/YiRu Edit/SongFeng Post-production/XiaoYu