Environment Tax Current Affairs

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China passes law to levy environment tax to fight pollution

China’s top legislature has passed Environment Tax to levy environment tax on polluters, especially on heavy industries. It will enter into force on January 1, 2018.

The law aims to improve taxpayers’ environmental awareness, force companies to upgrade technology and shift to cleaner production.

Key Facts
  • Under the new law, companies will pay environment taxes ranging from 350 yuan ($60) to 11,200 yuan ($1870) per month for noise.
  • It set rates of 1.4 yuan on water pollutants, 1.2 yuan on stipulated quantities of air pollutants and a range of 5 to 1,000 yuan for each ton of solid waste.
  • It allows provincial-level governments to raise rates for air and water pollution by up to 10 times after approval by local legislatures.
  • Under it, lower rates can also be applicable if emissions are less than national standards. It only targets enterprises and public institutions that discharge listed pollutants directly into environment.
  • Punishments for evasion or fraud have not been specified, but it says that offenders will be held liable in line with the law on administration of taxation and the environmental law.
  • Greenhouse gas Carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the major contributors to global warming, is not included in the levying list. 
Background

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs), due to its heavy reliance on coal to provide electricity to its population of 1.37 billion (world’s largest). Since 1979, China has collected a “pollutant discharge fee” which not enforced by any law. In 2015, it collected 17.3 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion dollars) from some 280,000 businesses. However, it was found that some local governments were exploiting loopholes and exempting pollution enterprises.

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