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Major Income Tax Amendments in China

Income Tax Amendments Hearing to Be Held

A legislative hearing will be held on September 27 to hear opinions on amendments to personal income tax law, the national legislature announced on Sunday.

It is the first time that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) has decided to hold such a hearing on a piece of legislation.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, said it was a long-held important principle for legislative work to promote democracy and respond to the public, and the measure should enhance transparency.

An official from the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission said the amendments relate not only to government's readjustment of social wealth, but also to the fundamental interests of individuals, so it is necessary to solicit opinions from all circles of society.

Yang Yada, professor at Anhui Industrial University and an NPC deputy, said a hearing would help citizens understand the intention of the law and enhance their awareness of tax issues.

She also said that having heard opinions from different departments would make the amendment work more efficiently.

"To absorb opinions from tax collection authorities will help the legislature understand loopholes; to hear opinions from financial staff will help them appreciate the need for an individual credit system to adequately collect taxes from high-income groups; to hear views from local tax officials from less developed provinces will help them understand the negative effects of implementing a blanket change nationwide," she said.

According to the Legislative Affairs Commission official, representatives of four groups will be invited to attend: law drafters-- officials from the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Taxation and the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council; wage earners; deputies from trade unions and officials from tax authorities of poor provinces.

The draft amendments were submitted for their first reading to the six-day session of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, which concluded yesterday.

The amendments include lifting the monthly lower tax threshold from 800 to 1,500 yuan (US$99-185) and requiring high-income groups to file tax returns and pay taxes themselves.

Opinions collected at the hearing will be collated into a reference for the draft amendments' second reading, said the Legislative Affairs Commission official.

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