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"Two-in-one" Business Licence Soon to Start for Individually-owned Businesses

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), State Administration of Taxation (SAT), National Development and Reform Commission and the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council recently released the Opinions on Integrating the Business Licence and Tax Registration Certificate of Individually-owned Businesses, calling for further efforts to deepen the business registration system reform and accelerate the extension of the "three-in-one business licence" reform to individually-owned businesses. The integration of business licence and tax registration certificate will be implemented on a trial basis in Heilongjiang, Shanghai, Fujian and Hubei starting from 1 October, and officially launched nationwide with effect from 1 December 2016.

The Opinions clearly stated that the aim of the "two certificates in one" business registration system reform is to ensure that citizens only have to fill out "one application form" and submit "one set of documents" to "one window" of the business registration authorities to complete the business and tax registration of an individually-owned business. The administrative department for industry and commerce will issue the new business licence bearing a unified social credit code for legal entities and other organisations. The new licence, which has the functions of the existing business licence and tax registration certificate, will promote "one licence, one code", information sharing and business collaboration and make it easier for individuals to start and run their business.

The Opinions discussed the content and tasks of this reform in seven areas. Taking into account the characteristics of individually-owned businesses, no deadline will be set for licence renewal for those businesses registered before 1 December 2016. The local authorities may encourage businesses to renew their licence, but the business licence and tax registration certificate will continue to be valid until they expire even if they have not done so. The Opinions stressed in particular that the local authorities must fully respect the wishes of these businesses and must not order the compulsory renewal of licence. The officials concerned will be held accountable for any negative consequence resulting from the compulsory renewal of licence.
 
The officials in charge of the Department for Regulation of the Private Economy under SAIC and the Department of Tax and Information Technology Administration under SAT recently explained the background of formulation of the Opinions as well as its meaning, basic principles, main content and work requirements. For details in Chinese, please see: http://www.chinatax.gov.cn/n810219/n810724/c2261639/content.html.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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