April 2016

China Tax Registration Certificate - An Introduction

When doing business with a Chinese company, a China tax registration certificate may be included in the paperwork exchanged by the Chinese party.

Verifying this certificate can help you identify if the company is registered and whether or not it is actually from the Mainland.

This article provides some more background information on the China tax registration certificate and explains what information it contains, who issues it and how it is used.

What is a China Tax Registration Certificate?

This is what the certificate looks like if you have ever received a scan or photo of the original document:

At the top of the certificate is China’s national emblem and the text "税务登记证" which means "tax registration certificate".

What Information is Contained in a China Tax Registration Certificate?

From top to bottom the items covered on the certificate are as follows:

  • 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)
  • Address (地址)
  • Registration Type (登记注册类型)
  • Business Scope (经营范围)
  • Approval Authority (批准设立机关)
  • Issuing Tax Authority (发证税务机关)

Many of the items specified are consistent with details found on the China business license.

Who Issues a China Tax Registration Certificate?

In China, there are two separate tax systems responsible for different tax collection scopes:  the state tax bureau system and the local tax bureau system.

The certificate is issued to Mainland Chinese companies through their local tax authority under one of the systems at provincial/municipal/county/below levels.

The authorities under the state system are called the Offices of SAT (State Administration of Taxation) and administered by State Administration of Taxation directly, while others are called Local Taxation Bureaus which are under the administration of both related tax departments and local governments.

They usually operate separately and companies only need to choose one for their tax registration certificate.  If a company’s tax collection scopes involves both systems, stamps of authorities in both systems will be shown on this one certificate.

Who Uses the China Tax Registration Certificate?

Anyone who engages in the production of goods and business operation is obligated by law to pay tax to their local tax authority.

China companies are required to apply for this certificate within 30 days after receiving their Business License. However, some parties such as government offices, individuals and mobile vendors are excluded.

The China tax registration certificate is typically used in the following situations:

  • For opening a company bank account
  • Application for tax reduction, tax exemption or tax refunds
  • To receive and purchase tax invoices
  • When dealing with the suspension and discontinuation of business
  • Other related tax issues

There is no exact expiry date on the certificate, but it keeps consistent with that on the business license. If there is any changes to a company’s registration, the company should renew their tax registration certificate accordingly.

Note that use of the China tax registration certificate has recently decreased following the introduction of a new 18-digit Chinese business registration number. The new China business license certificate combines information from the tax registration certificate leading to it becoming obsolete.

How to Verify a China Tax Registration Certificate?

If a Chinese company has provided you with a copy of their tax registration certificate, it is always a sensible precaution to verify that it is genuine – adjusted or “photoshopped” documents are common.

China Checkup offers verification of this certificate, click the service page to view our service.

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