Tax inspection on offices premises in Shanghai

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Earlier this year, a new policy of conducting an on-sight tax inspection for any new representative office (RO) or wholly foreign owned enterprise (WFOE) has come into practice in Shanghai.

Under this current practice, the tax inspection on the office premises will have to be conducted before tax registration can begin. Because the tax officer will normally alert the RO/WFOE only one day in advance of the inspection, most companies will find that they have little time to prepare. Therefore, we think it necessary for companies to understand the relevant requirements in advance.

Generally, the following matters should be prepared:

  • original leasing agreement
  • original formal leasing invoice
  • original business license (WFOE) or registration certificate (RO)
  • company logo/signage for building lobby, floor of office, and office suite entrance
  • basic office funishings, such as desks, tables, chairs

During this tax inspection, if there is any evidence that the new RO/WFOE is sharing its registered office with any other company, the new office will fail its inspection and a tax registration certificate will not be issued.

If the company passes the inspection, it will take four to five weeks for the Shanghai tax bureau to issue the formal tax registration certificate.

For business advisory services, assistance establishing, structuring or operating a business and contract drafting in Shanghai, please contact Olaf Griese in the Shanghai office of Dezan Shira & Associates, tel. [21] 6358 8686.