BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- China will tighten measures and mechanisms to curb arbitrary charges on enterprises, said the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
The meeting noted that in recent years, various localities and competent departments have worked hard to overhaul business-related charges. Administrative charges by the central government and government-managed funds have been cut by 70 percent and 30 percent, respectively, and local governments have scraped a large number of charges.
"The tax and fee cuts rolled out last year, as well as the policy to temporarily cut or exempt enterprises' social insurance contributions, have played a vital role in ensuring the stable operations of market entities and keeping the fundamentals of the economy stable," Li said.
The meeting noted that given the current complexity in the epidemic and economic situations, market entities are still faced with many difficulties. The problem of arbitrary levy of charges must be tackled in terms of both symptoms and root causes, to lessen the burden on enterprises, and strengthen the foundation for steady economic recovery.
Inspections targeting unwarranted charges on enterprises shall be carried out nationwide to seriously deal with such issues as arbitrarily imposing new charges, raising charging standards, and expanding charging scope and willful apportionment. Self-examinations and random inspections of fees charged by industry associations shall be carried out across the board.
Law enforcement in transportation, taxation and emergency management shall be better regulated. Discretionary standards will be formulated carefully. Minor violations, first-time or occasional offenders in road traffic shall be handled more with warning than fines. A list-based mechanism, where first violation will not be punished, shall be promoted in the law enforcement in the taxation sector. The mechanism on managing fines and confiscations will be better enforced and refined. All fines and confiscated revenues shall be turned over to the state coffers, and revenues and expenditures will be managed separately.
"The economy is still recovering, and the foundation is not solid. We need to let enterprises feel how much the government cares about their survival and development and resolutely curb arbitrary charges on enterprises," Li said.
Charges in key areas will continue to be revamped. The new government-managed funds that charge corporate fees must observe rigorous legal procedures. All maturing funds must be canceled if conditions permit, and charging standards shall be lowered regarding those that cannot be canceled for the time being. Dynamic management of administrative charges shall be strengthened. The charging standard that notably exceed the service costs will be reduced, and administrative charges that involve general management functions will be abolished.
Oversight on charges at seaports shall be stepped up. Mandatory service charges and pricing irregularities will be duly investigated and dealt with, including those in customs declaration, freight forwarding, logistics, warehousing, cargo handling, inspection and quarantine processes. Revision of relevant laws and regulations shall be accelerated, including those on the administrative punishment of price-related violations. Undue administrative penalties shall be revised or repealed in a timely manner to provide institutional safeguards against arbitrary charges on enterprises.
The meeting also urged the collection of statutory taxes and fees in an orderly manner, and ensure no undue burden shall be added to enterprises and the general public.
No localities should require, on their own, that previous arrears be paid off in a lump sum, and ensure that the transfer of fee-collection responsibility shall not add to the financial burdens on enterprises, smaller businesses in particular. Provincial authorities shall keep the current way of payment collection unchanged.
Reform on government functions shall be deepened, and the procedures for social insurance payment optimized, to expand the scope of zero-contact services. Online services shall be made available for business-related charges by the end of July, and mobile terminal services for individual-related items by the end of this year. Innovative measures shall be adopted to ensure convenience for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people with severe disability in making these payments.
Monitoring and analysis of the collection of social insurance premiums shall be enhanced, and any problem identified will be dealt with in a timely manner. Oversight and inspection shall be stepped up to strictly hold all violations accountable.