Discussion centered on concerns over proposed minimum threshold
China's draft amendment to the Individual Income Tax Law (IITL) has received over 45,000 responses so far from the public after the government began collecting opinions on Friday.
Most discussion was centered around a further raise in the threshold above which an individual is subject to income tax levies.
The Global Times saw that as of 2:00 pm on Wednesday, a total of 45,874 messages had been left on the website of the National People's Congress (NPC), where public opinions for the new tax plan are currently being solicited.
The public comment period started on Friday and will end on July 29.
The Standing Committee of China's NPC began reviewing the draft IITL on June 19. Under the draft amendment, the minimum threshold for personal income tax was lifted from 3,500 yuan ($528) per month to 5,000 yuan, or from 42,000 yuan per year to 60,000 yuan.
"It has been seven years since the last adjustment in 2011. But taking account of the inflation and the country's skyrocketing housing prices over the past seven years, I suggest the minimum threshold for individual income tax be raised to 10,000 yuan," a Beijing-based white collar worker surnamed Chen, whose monthly salary is 15,000 yuan, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Wang Xinmiao, a 28-year-old Beijing resident, suggested that the minimum threshold for taxation should be in line with the average salary in different cities, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
"In third-tier and fourth-tier cities, the tax exemption threshold of 5,000 yuan may be reasonable, but the situation won't work out in first-tier cities like Beijing where the cost of living is higher," Wang told the Global Times.
Another resident surnamed Yang in Fuzhou, capital of East China's Fujian Province, also voiced concerns to the Global Times over the way in which the 5,000 yuan threshold was decided.
"It should be calculated based on various factors such as consumption expenses and income raises," Yang said.
"If the government had disclosed the process, it would have been much easier for me to accept it," noted Yang.
However, Wang Surong, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics, also told the Global Times that if the amendment on individual taxable income draws out "too large and too quick," the system's impact on adjusting income distribution would be limited.
In addition to raising the minimum threshold, the new tax mechanism also provides preferential policies for low- and middle-income groups to reduce their living costs by using special deductions for expenses including children's education, further education, treatment for serious illnesses as well as housing loan interests and rent.