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New Shanghai Tax Filing System Requires More Detailed Expatriate Information

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New Shanghai Tax Filing System Requires More Detailed Expatriate Information

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Shanghai’s tax filing system has been comprehensively upgraded since February this year. The new system requires a more detailed disclosure of foreign expatriates’ income and allowance deduction, which must be recorded in the tax system when the company does the monthly individual income tax filing.

The “Individual Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China” and the “Notice of the Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation Concerning the Implementation of Individual Income Tax Policies” (Cai Shui Zi (1997) No. 20) define the scope of deductible allowances for foreign expatriates’ PRC individual income tax purpose. They include allowances for housing, meals and laundry, relocation, home leave airfare, Chinese language training and children’s education. For such allowances to be deductible, valid invoices and relevant supporting documents must be submitted to the tax authorities.

With the new system in place, the allowance details will be more readily available to the tax authorities, increasing the chances of challenges to applications for allowance deduction during tax filing. In light of this, foreign expatriates working in China are advised to take the following actions:

· For expatriates already working in China: re-assess your allowance position and make necessary adjustments if the position appears aggressive

· For expatriates about to start work in China: plan the compensation package so that a reasonable allowance arrangement can be made from your first day of work there

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