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NDRC rules out real estate tax for 3 years

Updated:2010-05-24 14:00:38

China's top planning body has ruled out tax on real estate at least three years.

It also clarified that local governments did not have the jurisdiction to tweak taxation legislation amid widespread and incorrect rumors that Shanghai was targeted for an imminent property levy.

Huang Hanquan, a senior research fellow with the National Development and Reform Commission, told the most recent edition of China Times that there would be "no mention of real estate tax" for three years.

Huang also denied that any specific policy was in the pipeline to enforce stricter new curbs against the booming real estate market.

The two stock markets on China's mainland - in Shanghai and Shenzhen - have fallen to their lowest levels in more than a year, driven down by inflationary pressure and concerns that more measures to cool property speculation may hurt the wider economy.

As equities tumbled, rumors became rife that Shanghai was about to impose a property-ownership tax on homes.

"It was a misunderstanding," said Kong Jingyuan, a senior official with the NDRC. "The commission is definitely laying out a plan for the domestic real estate market, but it is part of the 12th five-year plan and the release date will be the second half of next year."

A research fellow with the People's Bank of China, the central bank, told the weekly newspaper that "macro-control against the real estate market will enter a cooling-down period" in a climate of inflation and economic revival.

The real estate tax rumor was attributed to a news report last Monday alleging that new curbs being drafted by central government agencies - headed by the NDRC - were being urged to promote healthy development of the real estate market.

It made headlines nationwide and triggered a strong reaction. But the commission did not make an immediate response.

Kong said the NDRC's investment department was mapping out a medium- and long-term development plan for the real estate market but this was not connected to taxation matters.

This plan would take effect only after being approved by the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, the newspaper said.

"Only the central government can legislate on tax, while provincial and local governments are in charge of implementation of these laws," said Niu Xinwen, a spokesman for the State Administration of Taxation.





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