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China Sees 30% Growth in Individual Income Tax

China's individual income tax revenue rose to 318.5 billion yuan (US$43.6 billion) last year, up 73.3 billion yuan or 29.9 percent over 2006, the State Administration of Taxation said on Thursday.

The administration required individuals with an annual income of more than 120,000 yuan (US$16,438) last year to fill in forms and pay income tax by themselves.

They are also required to list their gains from stocks and property transactions.

"The country has not planned to levy tax on gains from the stock market, and the requirement is just meant to help collect information and data for the country's macro-control policies," said Miao Huipin, an official in charge of income tax with the administration, at a regular press conference.

China's mainland stock market experienced the most active year in 2007, with the stock trading stamp duty rising to 200.5 billion yuan (US$27.5 billion), 10 times the 2006 figure, according to SAT statistics.

Miao told reporters that many people with an annual salary above 120,000 yuan had gone to local taxation departments to report their incomes and "the registration work is going smoothly".

Many Chinese have become rich by working in private companies or being self-employed during the country's reform and opening-up drive, but their incomes are relatively untraceable.

The administration is trying to strengthen its monitoring of people that fall into this category and said those who didn't report their annual incomes as required would be fined.

Aside from tighter supervision of comparatively rich people, China has also lowered the income tax on low- and middle-income groups to shorten the gap between the wealthy and poor.

China's top legislature adopted an amendment last December to raise the individual income tax threshold from 1,600 yuan (about US$220) a month to 2,000 yuan, and the amendment will go into effect on March 1, 2008.

Shu Qiming, another official with the administration, said at the conference that the value-added tax and income tax from heavy-polluting gasoline, chemical, steel, construction material, non-ferrous metal and power industries rose 27.2 percent and 45.3 percent respectively in 2007.

"The pace of growth is slower and will be further reined in under the influence of the government's energy-saving and emission-cutting measures," Shu said.

Li Linjun, the administration's spokesman, said at the conference that the SAT would work with police departments to further crack down on fake receipts this year to prevent tax evasion and fraud.

China's total tax revenues surpassed 4.9 trillion yuan (US$668.8 billion) in 2007, up 30 percent year on year.

( January 11, 2008)

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