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China issues draft environmental tax law

China's state council has issued a draft environment tax law that imposes levies on air, water, noise and waste polluters, Taxation International said.15 Jun 2015

The draft law was drawn up by the Chinese finance ministry, state administration of taxation, and ministry of environmental protection in a bid to promote an "energy saving, and environmentally friendly" industrial system, state-owned news agency Xinhua said.

The proposed rates are 1.4 yuan ($0.64) per 4kg of suspended solids for water pollutants, a range of 5-30 yuan per tonne for solid waste and 1.2 yuan per unit for air pollutants, Taxation International said.

Air pollutant units will be measured according to the pollutant, while industrial noise will be charged levies according to the decibels recorded, on a scale of 350 yuan to 11,200 yuan, although the council did not state what timeframe this would cover, Taxation International said.

Taxes may be halved for companies that emit below half of the national standard, Taxation International said.

Urban sewage and refuse treatment plants will be exempt, as will agriculture, except large-scale animal husbandry. Motor vehicles, locomotives, non-road mobile machinery, ships and aircraft will also be excused as long as the pollutants are within national standards, the South China Morning Post said.

Environment minister Chen Jining told the South China Morning Post that the environment in China had "reached its limit", with high pollution and ecological damage, and that the government would take "more forceful measures" over the next five years to protect the environment.

The law was drawn up in November last year, Xinhua said.

China revised its environmental laws in April last year, with unlimited fines possible for polluters. Polluters will also be liable to be sued by environmental organisations under the updated legislation.