China Tax Registration Certificates Explained
What: The China tax registration certificate helps you verify two important pieces of information about a company in China: its tax registration status and its registered address.
Why: Many components need to be validated to ensure that the company with which you are contemplating doing business is legitimate. A valid China tax registration certificate provides you with two important pieces of that inquiry.
In our continuing series exploring the various documents involved in establishing a relationship with a Chinese company, here we explore the details of the China tax registration certificate. This document helps you verify two important pieces of information: the company’s tax registration status with the government and its location status within Mainland China. As with all Chinese documents, you’ll want to ensure that it is an official, legitimate document, as forgeries and alterations are common. This article will help you decipher the various aspects of the China tax registration certificate.
China’s national emblem appears at the top of the document, along with the text “Tax Registration Certificate” in Chinese: 税务登记证. Reading the document from top to bottom, you’ll find the following information:
Tax Number (税字号)
Taxpayer Name (纳税人名称)
Taxpayer Number (纳税人编码)
Legal Representative / Responsible Person (法定代表人/负责人)
Registration Type (登记注册类型)
Business Scope (经营范围)
Approval Authority (批准设立机关)
Many of these components also appear on a Chinese business license, so you’ll want to compare both carefully for a match.
You may encounter a new variation of the China tax registration certificate called the China business license certificate. Introduced in October 2015, this new document bears an 18-digit Chinese business registration number and combines information from the China tax registration certificate. While both remain in full use, we may witness a reduction in use of the China tax registration certificate.
Two tax systems operate in China: the state tax bureau [called the Offices of SAT (State Administration of Taxation) administered by the State Administration of Taxation and the local tax bureau (called the Local Taxation Bureaus administered through related tax departments and local governments). Companies typically only need to register with one entity for certificate issuance and tax collection purposes. If a company is registered with both systems, the tax registration certificate will show stamps of both authorities. Generally, the local tax bureau issues the tax registration certificate to Mainland Chinese companies via that company’s local tax authority at a municipal or provincial level.
The China tax registration certificate has several applications for a business operating in China. These include:
Receiving and purchasing tax invoices
Opening a company bank account
Processing a suspension or discontinuation of a business
Applying for tax reduction, tax exemption or tax refunds
All companies in China producing goods or offering services must pay tax to their local tax authority by law. After a Chinese company obtains its business license, it has 30 days to apply for and receive its tax registration certificate. Some exceptions to this rule include mobile vendors, government offices, and individuals.
While the China tax registration certificates don’t include a specific expiration date, they are a companion document to the business license and remain consistent in terms of dates. When a Chinese company changes its business license, it also is required to update or renew its tax registration certificate.
As with all Chinese documents, you should take steps to ensure that the Chinese tax registration certificate is official and valid. We’ve outlined the steps you can take to verify the validity of a Chinese document in our companion article “Certifying Chinese documents’ authenticity.”
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