New accounting standards, expected to be announced in the middle of this year, have faced tax bureau opposition at a Beijing forum. There is argument over Ministry of Finance plans to differentiate taxable and accounting profit, in line with international practice. The World Bank's consulting team leader on the new standards, Ray Harris, said the ministry was determined to make changes. He said the two-week forum, attended by mainland and foreign advisers, was to get feedback about the exposure drafts of the final nine accounting standards. Similar forums were held earlier to discuss the exposure drafts of the first 21 accounting standards. The final drafts of the complete set of 30 accounting standards would be announced in the middle of the year. He expected the new standards would be applied to selected state enterprises and shareholding firms from January 1 next year. Vincent Ng, senior manager at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, said enterprises listed as both A and B shares would still have to prepare two sets of accounts, but the differences would be narrowed by the new standards. Requirements for B-share companies were already close to international standards. Mr Harris said the shortage of accountants was the main problem in applying the new standard. He expected there would be difficulties for enterprises selected as pilot cases to deal with new concepts such as tax deferral, lease accounting and the booking of long-term construction projects. While the new standards were close to international rules, Mr Harris said there were adjustments in terms such as 'fair value' because prices of many commodities still were fixed by government. Mr Ng said the implementation was facilitated by the new audit system which started on January 1, and which required enterprises to carry out independent audits.