VAT replacing business tax

Shanghai Skyline

Beijing is likely to be the second city in China after Shanghai to start levying value-added tax (VAT) on transport and certain modern service industries on September 1, the US auditor Ernst & Young (E&Y) said in Beijing Thursday, citing an insider who participated in the municipal policymaking.

The State Council said Wednesday that it would expand the pilot reform of replacing business tax with VAT at an additional 10 areas between August 1 and the end of the year, as part of the government’s efforts in structural tax reduction.

The 10 places include Beijing, Tianjin municipalities, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Hubei and Guangdong provinces, as well as the cities of Xiamen and Shenzhen, the Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday, citing a State Council decision.

E&Y predicted that because of a lack of infrastructure, only Beijing, Tianjin and Jiangsu and Anhui provinces would be able to complete such a reform by the end of the year, with Beijing being the first among the 10 places.

The local governments “would not initiate a pilot program if they’re not ready. There can easily be over 100,000 enterprises included in a (VAT) trial in Shanghai or Beijing. Without (deployment of) VAT-control invoice machines, these enterprises wouldn’t know what to do (with the trial),” said Liang Yinle, a partner at E&Y, who has advised the State Council on VAT reform.

Because of the complexity of VAT, Liang said in Shanghai’s case, the local government carried out massive training for the companies. Meanwhile, the VAT reform involves transferring taxation from local taxation bureaus to the local offices of the State Administration of Taxation, which needs time to coordinate, he said.

“Shanghai was the first city to try the VAT reform, where the business tax has been substituted by VAT with an 11-percent VAT rate on the transport sector and a 6-percent rate on the modern service industry,” Xinhua reported.

Liang noted that the VAT reform would not stoke up inflation as it currently focuses on the business-to-business sectors, and it could lower firms’ tax burdens in production because it avoids cascading effect of taxes, or tax on tax levy.

By the end of March, 129,000 companies in Shanghai had participated in the VAT reform, and the tax burden for the involved small firms was cut by about 40 percent, Shanghai-based eastday.com reported in May.

But the companies may get to pay more taxes on their increased profits, as VAT reduces the costs of production and eliminates the room for them to hide profits illegally, Liang said.

via VAT pilot rollout may be delayed – People’s Daily Online.

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Saica welcomes Companies Act

South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

The SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) on Thursday welcomed the new Companies Act as good for small business.

Small and medium-sized companies which had previously been obliged to bear the cost of an audit might now be exempted as the act introduced new criteria, said Saica.

The decision would depend on a newly-introduced public interest score.

“Under this system, a company is allocated points according to the number of its employees, its annual turnover, its stakeholders and the level of third party liabilities at the end of the financial year,” Saica spokesman Ashley Vandiar said.

Points are given for the average number of employees throughout the year, one point per million rand of debt financing, one point for each million rand of turnover, and one point for every individual with a beneficial interest, including shareholders.

Companies with 350 points or more must be audited.

Any company, regardless of point scores, with more than R5 million held for a client in a fiduciary capacity also had to be audited.

Companies scoring between 100 and 350 points must have an independent review conducted by a registered auditor or a chartered accountant.

Those scoring less than 100 are required to have an independent review conducted by anyone who qualifies as an accounting officer, unless circumstances indicate otherwise.

Close corporations are treated the same way as companies.

The cost savings for companies exempted from an audit should be ploughed back into the business or used to reduce debt, said Vandiar. – Sapa

via Saica welcomes Companies Act – Business News | IOL Business | IOL.co.za.

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SARS can search without warrant

The Tax Administration Bill was promulgated yesterday in the Government Gazette. SARS expected it to come into operation in the next three months, it said. It contains a clause that permits a warrantless search.

SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said yesterday searching without a warrant will be in “narrowly defined” situations.

“It will mostly be in cases of crime where we get to a premises and find evidence is being destroyed,” he said.

SARS got legal opinion on the constitutionality on the specific clause in the act from two senior counse ls, Gilbert Marcus and Steven Budlender, who found it to be in order.

Lackay cited an example in Durban where SARS staff had to stand by helplessly while a suspect burned documents and financial statements in the courtyard of his offices.

via Bill gives SARS more teeth – Times LIVE.

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