Individual Income Tax Reform in China: An Evaluation through a New Zealand Lens
The People’s Republic of China’s (China’s) recent reform of their individual income tax is amongst the most significant reforms for the country in decades. Not only have tax rates altered, with a number of new deductions introduced, but also the tests for residency determination will potentially ‘capture’ many foreigners working in the country. The analysis of these changes from various commentators, legal and accounting firms, and other organisations, is extensive and informative. Collectively these highlight overall that this recent reform brings China closer to international norms. Indeed, it is arguable that this move towards ‘law-based’ governance is a step towards recognition of the rule of law in China. Rather than traverse well-trodden ground, the intention of this paper is to examine these changes through the lens of the New Zealand (NZ) (individual) tax system. New Zealand’s taxation of individuals is simple, efficient, and effective in raising revenue. New Zealand’s tax system integrates closely with social policy and income support for taxpayers, an important factor in the Business Transformation Programme (BTP). New Zealand and China have a close economic relationship, reflected in part in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).1 The author, who is reasonably acquainted with main principles of the Chinese tax system, is able to offer an outsider’s perspective through a comparative evaluation of China’s recent reforms with NZ’s current approach to individual income taxation.