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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Surplus revenue is a taxing problem

By Wei Tian (China Daily)

10:35, December 26, 2011

A tax office in Beijing could have a fiscal revenue surplus of 1.44 trillion yuan by the end of December. (Photo/China Daily)

BEIJING - Like many taxi drivers, Zhang Ping picks up a temporary job at the end of every year, selling fapiao, or receipts, to his passengers. The receipts - which should by rights have been given to Zhang's customers - can then be handed into employers, providing workers with reimbursement for related expenses.

Often, the fapiao - not limited to cab receipts - don't carry specific information about the related purchases and so can be used to claim a variety of expenses.

"At first, I wasn't aware that it was an opportunity to make some extra money, plus it's against the company's rules to do it. But with an increasing number of people asking me to sell them extra tickets, I thought there might be a huge demand and started to save the unused tickets," Zhang said.

The taxi driver could easily save dozens of tickets a day. That amounts to a couple of hundred yuan a week at face value and can often add up to some ten thousand yuan ($1,600) each month.

By selling each ticket at 5 mao - a subdivision of the yuan -Zhang's second job provides him with extra pocket money at this time every year. "I take this as my year-end bonus, although I still feel a little guilty about doing so," he said.

However, what Zhang doesn't realize is that his little business is just a start of a much more complex process, and that his "bonus" is only a drop in the ocean compared with what his customers gain.

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Canada at 2011-12-2770.36.49.*
People can be ingenious when it comes to making money, but both buying and selling receipts is corruption and should be made illegal. Overall it sounds like China is doing a good job of budget management, although there may be areas like procurement [especially for prescription medicine] that could be fine tuned for improvement. Both past and future expenditures need to be examined and estimated when compiling budgets, and building in a slight surplus as a cushion against unexpected expenditures, less than expected revenue, prevents a deficit. The Western method of rewarding managers & officials with bonuses tied to performance leads to corruption, bad management & poor decisions, as the official looks for ways to get a higher income, not what is best for the department or the country. A good, devoted official will likely put in long hours, and for that they deserve a decent salary, but those that only care about a high salary aren"t usually the kind that are best for the job or the country. Waiting to see how much money is left in the budget before making wanted/needed purchases such as computers could also be considered good management as there will be no budget deficit. Surpluses need to be carefully spent, perhaps carried over to next year budget, or used for social programs like social housing, health care, pensions, investment to create jobs, infrastructure, but that"s a political decision that needs to be viewed with the next year[s] in mind. A strong social security net helps prevent social instability and crime. Canada has a better social security net than the U.S. which is one reason Canada weathers recessions better. Universal public health care in Canada is about 10% cheaper than private for profit health care in the U.S., also gives Canadian corporations a competitive advantage. Western officials have done such a poor job of budget planning they have huge deficits, not the envious position of surpluses, so China must be doing a better job of budget planning.

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