[ Jian Sun ]——(2010-1-15) / 已阅17591次
Interpretation of Circular No.698
In accordance with provisions of the new Law of Enterprise Income Tax (2008) and Implementing Regulations (2008), whether the income from equity investment asset transfer is derived from PRC shall be classified by the domicile of the invested enterprise, so as to decide whether should pay the income tax in PRC jurisdiction. Whereas, the State Administration of Taxation of PRC (SAT) has not clearly addressed the condition that whether the income from foreign enterprises’ transfer of Chinese domestic enterprises shares they indirectly held by the transfer of offshore holding companies falls into Chinese jurisdiction or should pay income tax in PRC.
The promulgation of Circular No.698 Guoshuihan 2009
On December 10, 2009, the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) promulgated the Circular on Regarding Strengthening the Administration of Income Tax of Sale of Shares by Non-Resident Enterprises, (Guoshuihan  698) .
Provisions in Circular No.698 clearly addresses that prevent the foreign enterprises from evading income tax obligation by indirect transfer of shares of Chinese resident enterprises through arrangements like abusing the corporate governance.
In accordance with the provisions in Circular No.698, foreign investor whose indirect transfer of Chinese residence enterprises falling into the following two catalogues:
(1) The real tax burden rate of the jurisdiction where the offshore holding company transferred is incorporated is less than 12.5%; or
(2) The jurisdiction where the offshore holding company transferred is incorporated does not acquire income tax from foreign-sourced income.
shall submit the relevant documents as below to the local taxation bureau where the Chinese domestic enterprises being transferred located within 30 days after the execution of Share Transfer Agreement to prove the aforesaid indirect share transfer is for reasonable commercial purpose.
(1) Share Transfer Contract or Agreement.
(2) The relationship between Foreign Investors and Offshore Holding Companies transferred by Foreign Investors regarding finance, operation, purchase and sale, etc;
(3) The situation of the operation, personnel, finance, property of the offshore holding companies transferred by foreign investors;
(4) The relationship of the offshore holding companies transferred by foreign investors and Chinese domestic enterprises regarding finance, operation, purchase and sale, etc.
(5) The Explanations of reasonable commercial objectives of establishment of offshore holding companies by foreign investors.
(6)Other relevant documents required by Taxation Authorities.
Where administrating tax authorities, upon review and examination of the documents submitted by foreign investors, deem such offshore holding company to be a vehicle incorporated for the purpose of tax evasion, it has the power to re-classify the share transfer transaction in according to the nature of economies, deny the existence of offshore holding company and impose 10% income tax to the transfer of shares after the examination by the State Administration of Taxation.
In the second place, when non-resident enterprises transfer Chinese resident enterprises to affiliated parties in the unfair price compared to the fair and independent transaction to reduce the taxable income, tax authorities have the power to adjust the income by proper methods.
In the third place, provisions contained in Circular 698, share transfer income refers to difference between share transfer price and share cost. Share transfer price includes all sum received by share transfer assignors. In the event of invested enterprises have non-allocated profit or various funds after tax profit drawing, the invested enterprises shall not deduct aforesaid income sum from share transfer price. Cost of shares refers to real contribution sum paid by share transfer assignor to Chinese domestic company, or transfer sum paid to original assignors in the time when assignors purchased these shares.
Influence to the Oversea IPO’s and M&A
As the Circular 698 enforced from January 1, 2008, non-resident enterprises shall review the transfer situation of Chinese domestic enterprises to decide the next step whether to calculate and submit the Enterprise Income Tax (direct transfer) or to submit the relevant document to Local Tax Authorities in the place where Chinese domestic enterprises located (indirect transfer).
Interpretation of Circular No.698
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