Film in­dus­try ac­cu­sa­tion sets off tax-eva­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Top News - By CHEN JIA and CHENG YUEZHU

Au­thor­i­ties have be­gun an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of ru­mored tax eva­sion in the film and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try, and the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Tax­a­tion said in a state­ment re­leased on Sun­day that any il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity un­cov­ered would be pun­ished in ac­cor­dance with the law.

The state­ment comes af­ter a re­cent furor on­line that a Chi­nese film ac­tor may have evaded taxes by re­port­ing only a frac­tion of to­tal earn­ings from a film deal.

For­mer TV host Cui Yongyuan re­leased screen­shots of a doc­u­ment in a Weibo post on Fri­day that ap­peared to be an ac­tor’s em­ploy­ment con­tract.

On Tues­day, Cui ac­cused an ac­tor of sign­ing two con­tracts for a sin­gle pro­duc­tion. The first con­tract stated pay­ment of 10 mil­lion yuan ($1.58 mil­lion), the se­cond spoke of a pay­ment of 50 mil­lion yuan.

With­out men­tion­ing any ac­tor by name, Cui said: “Why so sneaky when tak­ing the 50 mil­lion? What are you afraid of ? Af­ter tak­ing the 60 mil­lion yuan, this bro only acted on set for ... four days.”

The doc­u­ments Cui posted on­line named the film star Fan Bing­bing. On Sun­day night, Fan’s stu­dio told me­dia she and the stu­dio have never signed dou­ble con­tracts and they will co­op­er­ate with any in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Tax­a­tion said mea­sures would be taken to pre­vent any such in­ci­dent from oc­cur­ring.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion has be­gun in Wuxi, Jiangsu prov­ince, the lo­cal tax au­thor­i­ties said, and any mea­sures taken will de­pend on the probe’s re­sults.

Cai Dao­tong, di­rec­tor of the Law School of Nan­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity, said the tax author­ity has an obli­ga­tion to in­ves­ti­gate whether il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties oc­cur re­gard­ing in­come re­port­ing. “It might be a sin­gle case, or a broad hid­den rule in the film and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try.”

If it has been proved, the tax author­ity has the duty to pur­sue the tax pay­ment and to is­sue a fine for de­lay­ing pay­ment. The case could be sent to po­lice for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion if the par­ties con­cerned are sus­pected of crimes, said Cai.

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