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NPC debates further raising tax threshold
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-25 05:57

A proposed amendment raising the threshold at which personal income is levied has met with a mixed response from national legislators.

Tax payers queue to pay fees in Nanjing on August 23, 2005. [newsphoto]
While welcoming the amendment in principle, many members of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) China's top legislature called for the threshold to be raised even higher to benefit more low earners.

Members also demanded concrete measures to ensure high-income earners are not allowed to escape the tax net.

Under a draft amendment submitted to the legislature on Tuesday, people making less than 1,500 yuan (US$185) a month will no longer need to pay income tax, up from the previous cut-off point of 800 yuan (US$98).

Jia Zhijie, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, said the draft should be enshrined in law as soon as possible, partly because it would help address issues of primary concern, such as "unfair income allocation" and "social discord."

Another member, Li Yuanzheng, said that since all taxpayers are concerned about the legislation, the public should be allowed to give their opinions on the amendment before it is voted on at the legislature.

Jia said: "The starting point for collecting the tax should be lifted higher to, say, 1,800 yuan (US$222)."

Most earners on a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan (US$247) have families to support. After expenses such as housing and education, what is left over is hardly enough to cover basic living costs, Jia said.
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