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China cuts income tax for low wage earners
Updated: 2005-10-23 09:38

China's monthly personal income tax cutoff point is expected to double to 1,600 yuan, as the draft amendment to the personal income tax law is hopefully approved by the top legislature.

China looks set to ease the tax burden on its low- and middle-income residents after holding a landmark public consultation amid fears that a growing wealth gap could hurt stability. [AFP/File]

The new threshold, 1,600 yuan (close to 200 US dollars), lifted from the current 800 yuan, is higher than the originally proposed 1,500 yuan, which was put at the first-ever legislature hearing held last month.

The draft amendment is due to be voted for adoption at the ongoing 18th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which began Saturday morning.

He Yongjian, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission under the NPC Standing Committee, said the adjustment of the tax deduction point should fully consider not only public opinions, but China's financial capability, and the present national conditions.

The state coffer could afford the monthly personal income tax deduction point of 1,600 yuan, and tax collection from high-income groups will be intensified to refill the central finance, said He.

The new cutoff point is only one deal concerning the people's fundamental interests that lawmakers will clinch at the the six-day legislative session.

In the days to follow, lawmakers are also scheduled to deliberate on the draft law on the quality and safety of agricultural products for the first time, and continue to discuss amendments to laws on corporation, securities, properties and exempting foreign central bank's assets in China from judicial enforcement.

The quality and safety of agricultural products is closely related to people's health and life and the growth of agriculture and rural economy in China, says Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin, when explaining the draft to the NPC Standing Committee.

The draft law comprises five parts including, among others, defining the scope of agriculture products adjustment, establishing quality and safety standards and the supervision system, according to Du.

Li Jinhua, China's top auditor, told lawmakers at the meeting that a new clause has been written into the draft amendment. It reads that audit organs are entitled to audit leading officials of government departments, state-own enterprises and state-holding companies and financial institutions concerning their performance in fulfilling their duties in financial and related economic activities during their terms.

To guarantee the independence of the audit organs and the authenticity of the audit report, the draft amendment adds a new clause to the audit law, which says that the appointment and dismissal of chief auditors of audit organs at or above the countylevel shall be endorsed by audit organs at their immediate higher level, rather than the local governments, said Li.

The State Council, or China's cabinet, tabled the international document against corruption with the NPC, for ratification, nearly two years after the government subscribed the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The convention "is conducive to the repatriation of corrupt criminals fled abroad and the recovery of Chinese assets illegally transferred to foreign lands," Premier Wen Jiabao said in a bill submitted to the legislature.

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