China Regulatory Brief: VAT Reforms, Visa Requirements for Artists

Posted by Reading Time: 4 minutes
China Makes Announcement on VAT Reform Progress

On January 28, the State Administration of Taxation released a report on the country’s ongoing value-added tax (VAT) reforms and tax revenue statistics. According to the report, tax revenues had increased by 8.8 percent against 2013 levels to RMB 10.38 trillion (US$1.66 trillion). It is expected that the VAT reforms will be expanded to cover the construction, real estate and financial insurance industries by the end of 2015. The VAT reform, launched at the start of 2012, is a massive reform to replace business tax with VAT, two of the country’s three major indirect taxes. Currently, most of the modern service sectors such as rail transportation and postal services are covered under the VAT regime.

China Clarifies Short-term Work Visa Procedures for Artists 

The Ministry of Culture recently released the “Guidelines for Foreigners Coming to China for Short-term Commercial Performances.” The Guidelines stipulate that foreign performing artists working in China for less than 90 days need to get a short-term work certificate. Foreign performing artists who work for less than 30 days are exempt from residence permits, while those who work more than 30 days (but less than 90 days) should apply for their residence permit within 30 days of approval. The residence permit can be obtained with the public security authorities in the area where the performance organizer is registered or where the first show is held.

Related Link IconRELATED: Employing Foreign Nationals in China: Visa Procedures

Shenzhen Raises Minimum Wage Levels

On January 29, the Shenzhen Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau made an announcement to raise its monthly minimum wage levels by RMB 122 to RMB 2,030 from March 1, 2015. The hourly minimum wage for part-time work has been raised to RMB 18.5. It’s the fourth time Shenzhen has made adjustment to its minimum wage levels since 2011. At that time, the monthly minimum wage in Shenzhen was RMB 1,320. Employees who get paid below the minimum wage standards can file a report with the city’s Labor Supervision Bureau.

China Raises Single Transaction Limit for Cross-Border Online Shopping

On January 20, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) released the “Circular on Launching Pilot Cross-Border Foreign Exchange Payment Services for Payment Institutions (Hui Fa [2015] No.7),” which took immediate effect. The Circular enables payment institutions to provide foreign exchange settlement services. Payment institutions seeking to engage in the pilot scheme need to register with the local SAFE. Furthermore, the limit on single transactions for cross-border online shopping would be raised to US$50,000, previously US$10,000. The restrictions on the number of foreign exchange reserve accounts opened by a payment institution have also been relaxed.


Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email or visit

Stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends in Asia by subscribing to our complimentary update service featuring news, commentary and regulatory insight.


Related Reading

Employing Foreign Nationals in China
In this issue of China Briefing, we have set out to produce a guide to employing foreign nationals in China, from the initial step of applying for work visas, to more advanced subjects such as determining IIT liability and optimizing employee income packages for tax efficiency. Lastly, recognizing that few foreigners immigrate to China on a permanent basis, we provide an overview of methods for remitting RMB abroad.

Revisiting China’s Value-Added Tax Reform
In this issue of China Briefing Magazine, we review recent steps taken by the Chinese government to reform its value-added tax policy. Specifically, we examine the sectors covered by the new Pilot Reform program with a focus on tax rates, taxpayer status and the calculation of VAT. We also include a VAT Pilot Reform Rates Chart, which overviews each affected industry’s tax rate and VAT exempted services.

E-Commerce in China
In this issue of China Briefing Magazine, we cover the current laws pertinent to the e-commerce industry in China, as well as introduce the steps involved in setting up an online shop in the country in order to help provide foreign investors with an overview of the e-commerce landscape in China.