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.