China’s new VAT regulations may significantly increase charges on Chinese exports

China’s new regulation on value-added tax (VAT), which went into effect on 1 August 2013, may increase charges on exports originating from China by up to six per cent. Circular No. 37 of 2013, jointly issued by China’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) and State Administration of Taxation (SAT), provides for the replacement of business tax with the VAT on a nation-wide basis. A pilot program for the current VAT policy was introduced in Shanghai in January 2012 and subsequently expanded to nine other areas in China.

According to Circular No. 37, while international shipping is not subject to VAT, logistics, and ancillary services such as shipping agents, freight forwarding, customs clearance, and warehousing are subject to a six per cent VAT (domestic shipping is subject to an 11 per cent VAT).

Circular No. 37 also appears to repeal the ‘net calculation basis’ provided under the previous business tax regime and the VAT pilot program, which allowed logistics service providers to deduct international freight from the taxable income…

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