I 鈥檝 e just been presenting on the tax regime throughout Asia at the CCH annual China Tax Conference being held in Shanghai. It 鈥檚 the first time this event has been held in China and the response has been overwhelming. My function has been to provide an overview of the changing tax regime across Asia 鈥?a huge subject, but one that holds a great deal of interest. Suffice to say, Asia 鈥檚 tax regimes are changing fast, and it 鈥檚 important to keep abreast about what is happening and where. Times are tight, and pencil sharpening, together with increasing interest in the use of special purpose vehicles, tax havens, and the application of double tax treaties are gathering ever more scrutiny from various Asian governments, and China in particular. There are also significant tax reforms on the immediate horizon, not least with India, which is about to completely reform its entire tax code. Corporate tax in India is about to significantly drop in early 2011, while countries such as Vietnam have also undergone radical reforms. It 鈥檚 not just a huge subject; it 鈥檚 also immensely complicated and very much a moving target. But to provide something for China Briefing readers as a take home from this, it 鈥 檚 worthwhile to take a snapshot of where China is right now and how it stacks up against the rest of Asia. The chart below is simple, and deals from left to right with the World Bank assessments of how many hours it takes in each country to file various mandatory tax forms. That 鈥檚 useful as a pointer to two elements; firstly how archaic the system is (such as Pakistan) or secondly, how much increased attention to detail is now being required as governments clamp down and insist on increasing amounts of data (such as China). The corporate tax rates apply as of today, but please note the addendum below, especially concerning India. Finally, 鈥渙 ther taxes 鈥?refers to the combined smaller taxes that also bite into profitability (China for example has an additional nine taxes that can impact corporate performance in the country: resource tax, land appreciation tax, real estate tax, vehicle and vessel tax, stamp duty, deed tax, customs duty, urban land use tax, and farmland use tax). The figure adds these up in each country and breaks them down into averages. The comparison makes for fascinating reading. To see these figures and read the rest of Chris Devonshire-Ellis's article, visit China tax and business news site, China-Briefing.com. Chris Devonshire-Ellis is also the founder of Dezan Shira & Associates.
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