Shanghai's tax revenues surged by 26.3 percent last year, exceeding both the national average and local government targets, city officials announced yesterday.
Local tax revenues hit 182.8 billion yuan (US$22.03 billion) in 2003, accounting for about 9 percent of the nation's total.
Tax revenues for the mainland grew by 20.3 percent year on year in 2003 to top 2 trillion yuan for the first time.
"2003 was an eventful year," Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday. "For example, we experienced the outbreak of SARS epidemic, however, Shanghai still managed to record tax revenues better than its targets."
Bai jingming, a professor with the research unit of China's Ministry of Finance said: "Tax is a means to reflect the economic development of a region. Shanghai's soaring tax revenues are backed by the city's rapid developing economy."
Guangdong was the only province or municipality to raise more taxes last year than Shanghai, Bai noted.
The state Administration of Taxation has set a target for the city to bring in 190.7 billion yuan worth of taxes this year.
While that represents a 4.3 percent increase over last year, Bai said the city should have no problem achieving that goal.
"For such a booming economic and financial city as Shanghai, it's a little bit conservative," he said.
The local government said it will quicken steps to improve its online tax collection system. Last year, around 40 percent of the city's tax revenues were collected over the Internet. The city mayor also vowed to further upgrade local taxation systems.
(Shanghai Daily February 4, 2004)