China is cutting tax burdens on companies and individuals by about 380 billion yuan this year. The State Council issued the statement after a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. It says the tax cuts will help "consolidate a steadying and improving trend of the economy and promote structural upgrading".
Starting July 1st, the government will simplify the value-added tax rate system and cut the tax rate for farm products and natural gas to 11 percent from 13 percent. The government will also widen income tax benefits for small firms and high-tech companies. Small firms with annual income of 500-thousand yuan or less can be taxed on half that amount, at a rate of 20 percent.
The tax cuts are part of larger efforts to manage slower economic growth. Although growth grew faster than expected at 6.9 percent in the first quarter, experts have warned of a slowdown in the second half of the year.