China recovered under-reported tax payments of 15.17 billion yuan (about HK$14.21 billion) in the first eight months of this year, strengthened by a high-level campaign led by Premier Zhu Rongji. The figure, reported by Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po, is tiny compared with about 1.12 trillion yuan of overall tax revenue during the period. However, economists believe the funds recouped came largely from individual income tax payers and helped fuel a 24 per cent jump in these tax revenues during the period. By comparison, overall tax revenue rose 11 per cent during the period. Beijing is worried that falling tax revenue and dwindling fiscal income will weigh heavily on its finances in the light of a record budget deficit. In July, Mr Zhu started the campaign against tax dodgers and chided many of the country's richest people for allegedly avoiding paying taxes. That was followed by the arrest of film star Liu Xiaoqing, a high-profile start to the campaign urging the rich and famous to pay individual income tax. Also arrested was Hong Kong's Johnny Sze Tsang-fai, a former chairman of locally-listed Global Tech (Holdings), a mobile phone handset distributor with a China operation. Taxation officials in China have this year identified specific sectors to probe possible tax evasion. The sectors highlighted included companies with regional presences, oil and tobacco firms, celebrities, entertainment companies and catering businesses, reported Wen Wei Po. HSBC chief economist for Greater China George Leung Siu-kay believed this year's tax re-collection was a one-off. 'In China, the tendency of not paying income tax is high, in the light of the taxation system,' he said. 'Tax-payers can come up with many ways to avoid paying taxes.' While income tax represents a small percentage of the mainland's overall tax receipts, the figures are growing because of the rising revenue from private enterprises. Individual income tax is set at a maximum of 45 per cent, while enterprise income tax is 33 per cent for local companies and 15 per cent for foreign firms.