Sun, Mar 10, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Beijing says property tax law ‘steadily advancing’

Reuters, BEIJING

Work on a draft property tax in China is “steadily advancing” and it is to be submitted for review when conditions are right, senior Chinese parliamentary officials said on yesterday.

China has considered a property tax for more than a decade, with market speculation of its implementation rising every few years.

Beijing would “focus energy” on implementing major legislative items this year, including a property tax, the head of the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) said on Friday, without giving details.

Work has started on such a law, Liu Junchen (劉俊臣), deputy head of the NPC’s Legislative Affairs Commission, told a news conference on Saturday on the sidelines of a parliamentary session.

“The relevant side is now studying the drafting of the real-estate tax law, and relevant work is steadily advancing,” Liu said, without elaborating.

The tax was being drafted by the NPC’s budget committee and the Chinese Ministry of Finance, said Finance and Economic Committee deputy head Uzhitu, an ethnic Mongol who goes by only one name.

At present, relevant departments are perfecting the draft law and discussing “important issues” related to it, he added.

“When the conditions are ripe, it will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for initial review,” Uzhitu said, although did not give a timeframe.

The idea of a tax has met with pushback from stakeholders, including local governments that rely heavily on land sales.

Pilot property tax schemes were introduced in cities such as Shanghai and Chongqing, but the glacial progress to launch it nationwide has drawn criticism as home prices continued to rise.

In October last year, the Xinhua news agency reported that a “long-term mechanism” for the property market — including the potential introduction of a nationwide property tax — is being studied.

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