SAT releases IIT figures

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Over 1.5 million people filed a 2006 personal income tax return the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) announced yesterday. According to the agency’s figures, 1,628,706 individual income tax returns were filed by April 2, the deadline for filing the required self-declaration for high-income earners. This was the first year China required its high-income earners, those earning RMB120,000 or more annually, to file a self-declaration.

The SAT report stated that China’s best-paid workers earned an average annual salary of RMB310,000, and that most people filing came from the power, energy and other State-controlled monopolies according to the income statistics. In addition to those from State-controlled entities, universities, hospitals and real estate agency workers were among those who filed.

Eighty-one percent of the big earners came from Beijing and coastal economic engines of Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Qingdao, Ningbo and cities in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. The average RMB310,000 salaries comprised income payments, share dividends, private businesses and secondary jobs such as consulting work. 

The report said the success of the first-year campaign was “near to the initial estimation made by the SAT, which stands at 1.7 million.” However, tax experts estimated that the number of people who should file could be as high as 6 million. Penalties for evading taxes could be five times the amount of unpaid tax plus a jail term.

A SAT spokesperson said the campaign was “a big step forward in setting up a nationwide personal income tax declaration system covering all wage earners by 2010.”