China plans bigger tax cuts in 2022 to prop up slowing growth

The size of the tax and fee cuts will be unveiled at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress on March 5, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will unveil bigger tax and fee cuts this year and step up payments to local governments to offset their hit to revenues, Finance Minister Liu Kun said on Tuesday (Feb 22), amid efforts to support a slowing economy.

Tax fee cuts will be larger in 2022 than last year's 1.1 trillion yuan (S$234 billion) in reductions, Liu told a news conference without specifying the size of the planned cuts.

"This year, the central government will significantly increase the size of transfer payments, especially general transfer payments, continue to favour regions with difficulties and underdeveloped areas," Liu said.

Planned transfer payments to local governments will help largely offset the impact from tax and feed cuts on local governments' revenues, he said.

China's strong economic recovery from its sharp pandemic-induced slump started losing momentum in the middle of last year, weighed by debt problems in the property market and strict anti-virus measures that hit consumer confidence and spending.

Liu acknowledged the difficulty of increasing spending to spur the economy amid declining growth in fiscal revenues, as the government's planned tax and fee cuts take effect this year.

"We want to properly resolve these issues and hopefully that could be achieved this year," Liu added.

He said the transfer payments from the central to local governments will continue to favour difficult areas and less developed regions.

The size of the tax and fee cuts this year will be unveiled at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, or the parliament, which commences on March 5.

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