April 25, 2018

Shanghai Free Trade Zone introduces new measures to facilitate taxation

As the country’s piloting field of reforms, Shanghai Free Trade Zone has introduced a hundred or so innovations and promoted them nationwide. They include online invoice issuance, single window tax refund and tax declaration by season for financial leasing companies, according to Shanghai Bureau of Local Taxation.

Since the online invoice and delivery service was launched in June, 2017, 333 class A taxpayer enterprises in the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone and Yangshan Port Free Trade Zone have been included into the new system, including Shanghai International Port (Group) Co, who formerly had to go to the tax bureau multiple times for its more than 100,000 monthly invoices.

With the support from postal express companies, the taxation bureau initiated multiple piloting programs such as tailored invoice delivery system at agreed-on prices for companies.

So far, the bureau’s service scope has covered the whole city and has sent out about 7,000 deliveries of more than 5 million invoices.

Another facilitation innovation is the single window service in the zone. Starting from 2017, the export tax refund declaration has been incorporated into the single window platform’s management system. Companies that need to file for tax refund no longer need to put in the information manually, as their tax refund data will be collected online and be put in automatically.

By the end of March, more than 4,500 companies had used the single window platform to file for tax refund. The new tax refund system has taken a lot of workload off the staff and increased the operation efficiency greatly, said Zheng Lihua, chief financial officer of Shanghai Decent Investment Co. For companies like Decent that have a large volume of tax refund, the new system can reduce the risk in miscalculation or delay in the process, Zheng added.

Also, for financial leasing companies that had large monetary dealings with banks and other financial institutes, if their tax declaration could be conducted in the same period with the financial institutes, the process would be further streamlined, suggested Shi Wuping, general manager of JIC Leasing Co during an investigation.

The suggestion was met with speedy response from the taxation departments, which initiated the piloting of a seasonally taxation system in July 2017, incorporating 1,341 corporate taxpayers in the zone. The program has reduced 10,728 tax declarations and increased about 1.3 billion yuan (US$20.63 million) in circulating capital for local companies.