China says celebrities have 10 days to cough up unpaid taxes
China’s tax authorities have set a 10-day deadline for entertainers and social media influencers to pay overdue taxes, part of a government campaign to tighten the noose on tax evasion and celebrity excesses.
Beijing has launched a sweeping state crackdown on tax evasion and perceived immoral behaviour in the entertainment industry, a tightening that has already targeted some of the country’s biggest stars.
Tax bureaus in several entertainment hubs across the country — including Beijing, Shanghai, and the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu — warned celebrities who have under-reported earnings could face severe penalties if they don’t refile by year end, according to government notices issued Wednesday.
“If the self-inspection and self-correction are still refused or… not thorough, the taxation department will seriously deal with it,” a statement from the Guangdong tax office said.
The order comes after China’s “livestreaming queen” Huang Wei was ordered to pay a record $200 million fine for tax evasion on Monday, with her social media accounts with over 110 million followers shut down a day later.
Chinese actress Zheng Shuang was also hit with a $46 million fine for tax evasion in August.
Actress Fan Bingbing’s career has been on ice since a 2018 tax evasion scandal.
Fan was one of China’s highest paid actresses before her downfall and appeared in the X-Men and Iron Man film franchises.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has said it had “zero tolerance” for tax evasion and entertainers’ “sky-high pay”.
The tightening coincides with the launch of President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” drive to reduce economic inequality — partly by reining in excessive incomes in the entertainment and technology sectors.