The long-awaited unification of local and foreign corporate income tax rates could take effect in early 2008, according to a report in the official China Securities Journal on Monday. A new draft of the law will be tabled for a first reading by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August and could be approved as early as March, Wang Jianfan, a vice-director of the Ministry of Finance's taxation department, said. An earlier draft was withdrawn from the NPC in March amid disputes between government departments. A 33% tax rate on both local and foreign companies has been in place since 1994, but investment incentives can cut a foreign firm's tax rate to 15% or less. Foreign firms include those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. A movement towards tax parity was a condition of China's admission to the World Trade Organization.
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