On 22 December 2018, China’s State Council released the final implementation regulations for the amended Individual Income Tax (IIT) law (Decree of the State Council No. 707). Draft implementation regulations were released for consultation by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) on 20 October 2018. We have summarized several changes made to the draft regulations regarding to resident and non-resident tax payers as follows:
“Five-year rule” to “Six-year rule”
- The five-year rule has been adjusted to six-year rule and foreign employees can avoid paying taxes on worldwide income as a Chinese resident. Although residence will be triggered based on 183 days, a single break in excess of 30 days will continue to create a “tax break” for these purposes.
- The eligibility for the exemption on foreign sourced income may need to be validated through a “put-on-record” filing.
Tax-exempt benefits will be retained
- Foreign employees can elect to retain the tax-exempt benefits privilege they currently enjoy. Foreign employees cannot enjoy double benefits from expenses incurred of the same nature under both the non- taxable benefits rules and the specific additional deductions rules.
- The new IIT law allows resident individuals to claim six types of additional itemized deductions against their comprehensive income to compute IIT. The final implementation regulations confirm that the additional itemized deductions may be taken when computing IIT on business income to the extent the individual does not have any comprehensive income.
- Individuals will be required to submit the information relating to itemized deduction claims for first time declaration to their tax withholding agent or tax bureau, and any subsequent changes should also be notified to the employer.
- Unclaimed tax deductible expenses incurred in current year cannot be carried over to the following year.
Please see the special deductions breakdown as follows:
|Key qualifying conditions
|Amount for deduction (RMB)
|Who can claim?
|3 years onwards
|100% for either parent or 50%/50% by both parents
|Only for children receiving education overseas: admission notice, student visa etc.
No requirement for children accepting education in China.
|Primary & middle school
|High school, Vocational school
|Degree, Masters, Doctorate
|Formal education in China
|As per above levels of education
|400/month (max. 48 months for one formal education)
|Individual taxpayers Exception for individual that has work but accepts education lower than bachelor degree: by parent or the individual
|No requirement for formal education.
For professional education: professional certificate.
|Recognized qualification or certificate in China
|One-off 3,600 in the year obtaining qualification /certificate
|Serious illness medical fees
|Medical expenses incurred for individual taxpayer, spouse or minor children after the reimbursement by statutory medical insurances in aggregate more than RMB 15,000
|Actual expenses in part of exceeding 15,000 but less than 80,000 (deduction shall be claimed at the annual IIT reconciliation of the following year)
|Medical fees for taxpayer or spouse: either by taxpayer or spouse
Medical fees for minor children: either party of the parent
|Original or photo copy of receipts for medical service charges, vouchers for statutory medical insurance reimbursement, list of annual medical expenses issued by medical insurance institute etc.
|Housing loan interest
|Bank loan or housing fund for buying real property in China
Limited to first property only
|1000/month (max. 240 months)
|If jointly owned, either husband or wife to claim
|Loan agreement and vouchers for re-payment of loan etc.
|Not owning property in place of work
No claim of housing loan interest deduction by the taxpayer or spouse
|Specified big cities
|If husband and wife work in the same city, only one side that sign the agreement can claim
If husband and wife work in different cities and not own property in either city, both and claim deduction of own
|Cities with population in urban districts > 1m
|Cities with population in urban districts < 1m
|60 years or older parents as well as grandparents aged 60 and above whose child(ren) has/have passed away
|Taxpayer is the only one child
|For taxpayer with siblings: split between siblings: maximum claim is 1,000 per month for each
|Agreement for the allocation among siblings
 Specified big cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Ningbo, Qingdao, Dalian and the capital cities of all provinces.