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China planning fairer income tax policies: Finance Minister

Published on Mar 6, 2014 11:03 AM
China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei looks at his watch as a journalist (front) raises a hand to ask a question during a news conference, as a part of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Beijing is mulling how to make individual income tax policies fairer in order to ensure equitable income distribution, China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Thursday.

Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to "declare war on poverty", make taxes more progressive and improve people's livelihoods, amid rising rich-poor gaps which saw China's Gini coefficient - a measure of income inequality in a country - reach 0.473 this year.

A reading higher than 0.4 is deemed by the United Nations to represent higher risks of social conflict as disparities rise.

Expectations that China could revise its individual income tax regime - in particular, exempting more lower-income people from taxes as costs of living climb in China - have risen after some Chinese legislators called for a review in recent months.

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