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China Axes Business Income Tax in Quake Zone This Year

China's Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced on Wednesday that business income tax would be suspended until the end of the year for enterprises worst affected by the May 12 earthquake in order to support reconstruction.

The ministry did not indicate whether this suspension would be extended beyond 2008.

"Medical, rescue teams and government staff that work on the front line will be exempted from personal income tax on emergency subsidies since May 12 to the end of the year", said the circular jointly released by the MOF, State Administration of Taxation and the General Administration of Customs.

Imported materials and equipment targeted at helping quake-hit enterprises would enjoy preferential import tariffs. The grace period, started on July 1, would run to June 30, 2011. Details of the preferential policy were yet to be revealed.

The government on Tuesday announced that new buildings in the quake zone would be exempted from land use fees from May 12 until the end of 2010.

Those made homeless in the quake and those who start their own individually-run businesses are entitled to a business tax and income tax reduction to the ceiling of 8,000 yuan (US$1,170) to the end of this year, according to the circular.

The 8-magnitude quake that ripped through southwest China's Sichuan Province left 69,200 dead and destroyed more than 4.5 million homes.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2008)

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