New Tax Policy Promulgated for Imported Goods via Cross-border E-commerce – April 2016


On 24 March 2016, the State Administration of Taxation, the Ministry of Finance and the General Administration of Customs jointly issued the Circular of Taxation on the Tax Policy for Cross-border E-commerce Retail Imports (Cai Guan Shui [2016] No. 18)  (“Circular”), effective from 8 April 2016. The Circular aims to promote the development of imported goods via cross-border e-commerce, in a fair and competitive market.

According to the Circular, individuals purchasing imported goods via cross-border e-commerce are tax payers, the actual transaction price is the dutiable price, and e-commerce corporations, corporations specialized in e-commerce transactions, platforms and logistic enterprises are withholding agents and responsible for deducting taxes. Further, the Circular specifies that imported goods via cross-border e-commerce have a transaction limit of CNY 2,000 for each transaction, and a maximum of CNY 20,000 per person per year. The tariff for any commodities imported within the foregoing transaction limits are temporarily fixed at 0%, and the exemption for import VAT and consumption tax are cancelled and temporarily levied at 70% of the statutory tax. If imported goods via cross-border e-commerce are returned within 30 days from the date of customs clearance, a tax refund can be claimed and the individual transaction limit will be adjusted accordingly.

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