On June 2 2020, the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism (BRITACʘM) virtual meeting was held with the theme of "Responding to Covid-19: BRITACʘM Perspective". Wang Jun, Chair of the BRITACʘM Council and Commissioner of the State Taxation Administration of China (STA), attended the meeting and delivered a speech.
In his speech, Wang Jun, on behalf of the BRITACʘM Council, pointed out that the virus respects no borders, and that solidarity and cooperation is the global community's most effective weapon to defeat the virus. He also thanked the tax authorities of the BRITACʘM and the OECD and other international organizations and stakeholders for their support and assistance to Chinese tax authority in response to COVID-19. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, all Council Member Tax Administrations, Observers and other stakeholders of the BRITACʘM have cooperated to defeat the virus and made joint efforts to push forward and play a positive role in the BRITACʘM development. First, establishing a platform to exchange information and share experiences. The special dialogue platform of "Responding to COVID-19" has been built to timely and fully share tax policies and measures in tax administration and taxpayer services. Secondly, strengthening cooperation and jointly working out solutions. All parties have taken advantage of their expertise, carried out study of COVID-19 impact on economies as well as the effect of response policies, and sought valuable practices to combat COVID-19 and promoted development from tax perspective. Thirdly, adapting to the reality and promoting the development of the BRITACʘM. Based on extensive consultation, all parties reached the consensus to postpone the Second Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum (BRITACOF) to 2021 and engage in this BRITACʘM meeting from offline to online, which actively contributed to the better implementation of the Wuzhen Action Plan (2019-2021). On further promoting the development of the BRITACʘM, Wang Jun put forward three proposals:
Further deepening experience sharing. We should pull together tax policies and measures issued by tax administrations, as well as insights from international organizations or experts, to share experiences and play the greater role of taxation in the concerted effort to fight the virus and promote economic recovery.
Further developing platform application. We should take the inaugural issue of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax journal and the launch of the BRITACʘM official website as an opportunity to advance online cooperation with more cooperative events, and create a regular communication mechanism following the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits.
Further deepening the support of science and technology. Focusing on the theme of digitalizing tax administration of the Second BRITACOF, we should further expand "non-contact" taxpayer service, pay more attention to the application of science and technology, and optimize tax administration and taxpayer service.
In the keynote speech, Wang Jun shared with delegates practices and experience of Chinese tax authorities in responding to COVID-19 and supporting economic and social development. He pointed out that since the outbreak of the epidemic, under the command and deployment of President Xi Jinping, China has achieved major strategic results in the battle to contain the epidemic. The Chinese tax authorities have rolled out a series of practical and innovative measures and have played an active role in promoting epidemic prevention and control as well as economic and social development. First, targeted and robust tax incentives have been implemented to support enterprises in this trying time.
While committed to the research and formulation of tax and fee incentives, Chinese tax authorities have worked with authorities of finance, human resources & social security, and health insurance to ensure that policy dividends reach market entities directly. From January to April of this year, policies on tax cuts and fee reductions have saved a total of 906.6 billion yuan (or 127 billion U.S. dollars). Secondly, “non-contact” taxpayer services have been promoted to deliver convenience to enterprises. While extending the deadlines for tax filing and payments in accordance with the law, Chinese tax authorities have promoted “non-contact” taxpayer services nationwide in a bid to mitigate risks of epidemic transmission and to ensure safe and convenient tax payments. Thirdly, in-depth and timely analysis has been harnessed on big data to help with reopening of businesses. The Chinese tax authorities have deepened analysis on big data of taxation, closely followed relevant data and information to gauge the recovery of economy, assisted businesses in removing the clogs on the industrial and supply chains, and deepened the “Tax and Bank Interaction” mechanism to alleviate the liquidity problem of enterprises. In the first quarter of this year, small and micro enterprises have received a total volume of loan of 181.6 billion yuan (or 26 billion U.S. dollars) based on the “Tax and Bank Interaction” mechanism.
Wang Jun stressed that the epidemic will be defeated, and the cooperation will surely be everlasting. At present, China’s economic and social development is recovering at an accelerated pace. China's tax authorities are willing to actively share experience in response to COVID-19 and provide assistance to the tax authorities of jurisdictions in need.
Wang Daoshu, Executive Secretary of the BRITACʘM Secretariat and Chief Auditor of the STA, updated participants on the BRITACʘM progress. Heads and representatives of tax administrations or finance departments from 36 jurisdictions and 7 international organizations, and 10 members of the Advisory Board attended the meeting to exchange views on fighting COVID-19 and BRITACʘM development, and reached broad consensus.