With a view to guiding local tax offices, China has specified
regional farmland use tax standards after quintupling the tax range
on the use of arable land for non-farming purposes.
The average tax was set at 45 yuan (US$6.2) per square meter in
the eastern metropolis Shanghai, the highest in the nation.
Beijing and Tianjin came second and third with 40 yuan and 35
yuan, respectively. The northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
was offered the most lenient tax of 12.5 yuan, said a circular
jointly issued by the Ministry of Commerce and State Administration
of Taxation (SAT).
Yang Suizhou, deputy director of SAT's local taxation
department, said earlier this month that aside from the existing
tax, local governments would raise the average tax on farmland use
by up to 75 percent in special economic zones where farmland is
In December, the government issued an ordinance that stipulated
in places where per capita arable land was below one mu (0.067
hectare), investors must pay a land-use tax of 10 yuan to 50 yuan
per square meter compared with the previous two yuan to 10
Investors will only need to pay six yuan to 30 yuan for each
square meter they use if local per capita arable land ranges from
two to three mu.
The lowest tax rates of five yuan to 25 yuan will apply to where
per capita arable land stands above three mu.
The ordinance also scrapped the previous "zero-tax" treatment
for the construction of railways, airport runways and parking
aprons and imposed a rate of two yuan per square meter for such
China's land for cultivation has shrunk 4.6 million mu from the
end of 2006 to 1.827 billion mu, slightly higher than the danger
mark of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) set by the government
to feed its people.
The country's alert on inefficient land use and shrinking
farmland was marked by a central government order to adopt the
strictest management of land resources in 2004.
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2008)