If tax fraud is the national sport Hong Kong is China's stadium | xing
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Value-added tax fraud is booming in China. As Ren Wei explains on the front page of today's Business Post, a thriving industry has grown up around diddling the VAT man, with mainland businesses buying and selling illicit VAT invoices in order to minimise their tax payments and maximise their profits.
The scale of the racket is enormous. According to one recent estimate, more VAT revenue is lost to fraud than is actually collected by the government. Considering that VAT is now Beijing's biggest single source of tax income, that's a swindle of gargantuan proportions.
The scam is so big, you could even say VAT fraud is China's national sport. But cheating the mainland taxman isn't solely a domestic game. Indeed, if VAT fraud is really the national sport, then Hong Kong, not the Bird's Nest in Beijing, is China's true national stadium.
The fiddle works because of the favourable treatment that foreign-invested companies enjoy on the mainland. Although the authorities have been working hard to eliminate foreigners' tax breaks over recent years - Beijing unified the corporate income tax regime in 2008 and began collecting urban maintenance and education taxes from foreign companies just last month - when it comes to VAT, the playing field is still tilted heavily in favour of foreign-invested companies.
To encourage inward investment, local governments offer foreign companies a wide range of VAT exemptions and rebates. Some allow foreign-invested enterprises to import capital goods VAT-free. Others give rebates to foreign companies buying locally-made machinery. High technology companies in Shenzhen, for example, can enjoy VAT rebates of up to 50 per cent. the haney group article code85258080733THG
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The Haney Group Article code85258080733THG