China actively pushing forward property tax reform: finance minister

November 4, 2016 1:25 AM EDT

China's Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei adjusts his tie during a during press conference held at the close of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Chengdu in Southwestern China's Sichuan province, Sunday, July 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ng


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BEIJING (Reuters) - China is actively pushing forward reforms on property taxes as it overhauls its fiscal system, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said in written comments at a forum on fiscal policy in Beijing on Friday.

China introduced an annual residential property tax on some homes in Shanghai and Chongqing in 2011 but it has not been expanded since.

Any progress on expanding the tax would be a major development in China's red-hot housing market, where prices have risen by more than 30 percent annually in many major cities.

The lack of any annual taxes to pay means it makes more sense for investors to leave homes empty rather than hurt resale values by renting them out, as long as prices keep rising.

Annual tax rates in Shanghai are less than 1 percent of the purchase price of the home. That compares to a 32.7 percent rise in home prices in Shanghai year-on-year in September, according to official data.

China is also pushing forward reforms on individuals' taxes and will also "adjust and improve consumption tax policies to further influence adjustments to production and promote consumption," Lou said on Friday.

The Ministry of Finance said in September it would reduce or remove consumption taxes on all cosmetic products as it looks to encourage more spending domestically.

(Reporting by Shen Yan and Elias Glenn; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)



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