Some praise but most still not satisfied

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am


The adjustment to the mainland's income tax threshold won some applause from the public yesterday, but most people still think it's too low.

A survey launched yesterday by Sina Weibo, the mainland's most influential microblogging service, showed that by 7.30pm, 58 per cent of about 9,000 users believed the threshold should be higher. Less than a third said they were satisfied with the result, saying the public's voice had been heard.

The top legislature's decision not to change the proposed threshold earlier this week, ahead of its second deliberation on draft amendments to the tax law, was widely opposed.

Jin Li , a software engineer employed by a multinational company in Beijing, said she was glad to see the proposed 3,000 yuan (HK$3,600) threshold finally changed to 3,500 yuan after public criticism.

'This 500 yuan means ordinary people do have some influence over policy making,' she said.

She takes home 5,700 yuan a month after deductions for social benefits and tax, and that will increase to 6,050 yuan when the new tax scale is implemented in September. 'But 350 yuan is just three decent meals,' she said.

Many Weibo users agreed that the increased threshold would do little to help them cope with rising inflation.

'Yes, I pay less tax. But I can do nothing but buy some dinner boxes at the 7-Eleven store with the amount of money it saves me,' one wrote.

While some suggested raising the threshold to 5,000 yuan, more expressed dissatisfaction with the inappropriate and unclear way their taxes were spent. 'The point is not the threshold or the tax rate, but how the tax has been used and who has used it,' another wrote.

Some academics said the final threshold was in line with the realities of life on the mainland.

'People who earn more than 3,500 yuan should not have too much difficulty living in today's China, and what the government needs to focus on next is how to use tax from high-income earners to improve life for those who earn less than the threshold,' said Yang Shengming , former director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Finance and Trade Economics.

He said it was not just ordinary people who had different views over the threshold - opinions among lawmakers also varied, 'a result of compromise among different groups'.


The proportion of 82,000 respondents to an NPC online survey earlier this year who disagreed with the 3,000-yuan threshold