China: New PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law

Last Updated: 22 May 2007

Since the early 1990s, China has maintained a dual income tax system for foreign invested enterprises ("FIEs") and domestic enterprises. Preferential tax treatment like lower tax rates, tax deductions and tax holidays offered to FIEs was designed to attract foreign investments to China. This has resulted in a substantial tax payable differential between domestic enterprises and FIEs and also encouraged the practice of "round tripping" whereby domestic enterprises first set up companies offshore before making inbound FIEs investment. The differential will now be removed by the new Enterprise Income Tax Law ("New Tax Law"), which was promulgated by the National People’s Congress on 16 March 2007 and will come into effect on 1 January 2008. The New Tax Law has significant impact on those doing business and structuring investments in mainland China.

New Tax Rate

Article 4 of the New Tax Law provides that enterprise income tax shall be levied at the same rate of 25% regardless of whether the enterprise is domestic or foreign owned. Presently, the standard concessions for an FIE include top income tax rates of 15% and 24% (depending on factors such as location, industries etc) and these rates may only come into effect after a 2-year tax holiday and 3 year at half-rate tax. Domestic enterprises pay a standard enterprise rate of 33% which may be reduced depending on regions and sectors.

The two-year tax holiday and three-year half tax policies for manufacturing and exported oriented FIEs will be abolished as the "Income Tax Law for Enterprises with Foreign Investment and Foreign Enterprises" will be annulled as of the effective date of the New Tax Law (Article 60).

Transitional Period

The New Tax Law further provides a transitional period or a "Grandfather Rule" for existing FIEs established before the effective date.  Article 57 provides that tax incentives already approved will be allowed to continue to 2012. If a particular FIE tax incentive ends after 2012, it would deem to have started in 2008. Existing FIEs which have started their tax holidays will continue to enjoy the remaining holidays while those that have not started (e.g. due to no profit in the past) will have their tax holidays calculated commencing from the effective date of the New Tax Law (Article 57), irrespective of whether it is a profit or loss year.  All such tax incentives will terminate on the expiry of the transitional period in 2013.

Tax Resident Enterprises

Foreign enterprises with effective management based in China may be deemed as "resident enterprises", consequently, their worldwide income will be taxed in China. Article 2 stipulates that a "resident enterprise" is an enterprise established in China according to PRC laws or an enterprise established in other countries (regions) pursuant to their laws but the effective management is located in China. Based on the New Tax Law, the tax authorities will be empowered to deal with cases where offshore companies are established with effective management and control in China but pays no Chinese tax.

Tax Benefits

Pursuant to the New Tax Law, tax benefits will be provided mainly according to the types of industries. Locations or regions will only be given secondary consideration.

Preferential tax treatment for hi-tech enterprises at national level will be applied nationwide. Enterprises’ expenses in purchasing specialized equipment for environment protection, energy and water saving and production safety will enjoy a certain tax deduction (Article 34). Enterprises engaging in agriculture, fishery, environment protection, energy and water saving and income from technology transfer (and others set out therein) will be entitled to tax reduction or even tax exemption (Article 27). All this reflects China’s long-term objective to enhance growth from advanced technology industries (instead of labour-intensive manufacturing) with environmental protection, and at the same time, to support the primary industries in view of her large peasant population.

Transfer Pricing

The New Tax Law specifies new regulations on transfer pricing issues between related parties. Article 41 stipulates that for transactions between an enterprise and its related party which do not comply with the arm’s length principle and which result in the reduction of taxable income, the tax authorities shall have the right to make adjustment by reasonable methods. Following international practice, Article 42 further provides that advance pricing agreement between related parties may be discussed and negotiated with the tax authorities.

Tax Avoidance

Article 45 also provides for the prevention of tax avoidance through the use of tax heaven companies by taking into account the portion of the undistributed profits attributable to the resident enterprise when computing the taxable income of such resident enterprise in China.

In addition, Article 47 strengthens the power of the tax authorities through general anti-avoidance provisions.


Although the tax rate will be increased upon the commencement of the New Tax Law, it will not necessarily discourage foreign investment from entering China. China attracts foreign investment for various reasons and the low tax rate is only one of them. Others include the potential market of 1.3 billion population, annual GDP growth of about 8%, relatively stable government and ample supply of low-cost labour.

Lawyers in our China Business Practice Group regularly advise clients on foreign direct investments, mergers and acquisitions and China investment issues. For more information on the above, please contact us.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions