Environmental tax promotes corporate governance

Recently, an authoritative source from the environmental protection department disclosed that the environmental tax collection plan has been unanimously approved by the State Administration of Taxation, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. It has been reported to the State Council. The tax reform plan is expected to be introduced next year. It is reported that the impact of tax types is therefore relatively large. To be on the safe side, the first environmental tax levy will only include sulfur tax and sewage tax. In this regard, experts said that the introduction of environmental taxes will promote China's environmental governance into the legal track, and related companies, especially high-pollution, high-emission companies to treat pollution with taxes and promote the transformation and upgrading of enterprises is imperative.
In recent years, the call for environmental taxes has risen higher than a wave. During the two sessions in 2008, Song Linfei, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and former president of the Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, submitted a proposal and called for the first time to collect environmental taxes as soon as possible. Song Linfei stated that it is predicted that from 2010 to 2030, China’s population growth, resources, and environmental pressure will reach its maximum, and environmental tax reform will be imperative. The implementation of the environmental protection fee system for many years has failed to meet the needs of the situation. Delays in charging fees, inadequate supervision, local protection, and malicious refusal to pay have occurred in various places. For example, in May this year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection's routine environmental supervision of listed companies found that an enterprise in Xinjiang had arrears of sewage charges as high as 100 million yuan.
According to Ma Zhong, head of the Research Group of China's Environmental Resources and Taxation System, a major project of the National Social Science Fund, and the dean of the School of Environment of the People's University of China, the collection of environmental taxes may follow a step-by-step “tax-to-tax” path, that is, early discharge first. Large and relatively stable and relatively easy to collect pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, waste water pollutants and other "fee-to-tax", other pollutant discharge still according to the original regulations to levy sewage charges.
Environmental protection governance has always been at the forefront of the nation's Jiangsu Province. It has actively explored the introduction of environmental taxes. A research group has been established in the second half of this year to conduct environmental tax research and demonstration. According to the head of the task force and Director Zhu Chunyan of the Provincial Local Taxation Bureau, after the “tax reform”, the tax will be levied by the taxation agency instead of the environmental protection department. The administrative color is expected to be diluted with it. Moreover, sewage charges are generally only targeted at the industrial chain. The practice of expropriation at the end of the link, and the tax collection and payment link is more flexible, and it can simultaneously tax production, consumption, and other aspects.
Obviously, the collection of environmental taxes is more effective than administrative measures. Will the increase in the burden of enterprises, especially high-emissions and high-pollution enterprises, be implemented? Professor Huang Xianjin, a tax research expert at Nanjing University, believes that after the introduction of the environmental tax, it will surely increase the burden on high-pollution companies because an important objective of the environmental tax is to force high-pollution companies to accelerate their transformation and upgrading. In the long run, this tax will eventually adopt the same collection mode as the foreign consumption tax. The tax will be included in the price. When the company pays for coal, water, etc., the environmental tax will be added to the cost.
After the introduction of environmental taxes, chemical industry, as a resource-consuming and highly polluting industry, is particularly affected by the impact. The reporter found during the interview that companies generally stated that once an environmental tax is introduced, even if the tax rate is the same as the previous rate, because the tax collection is mandatory and there is no buffer, the company’s burden will still increase. “In the future, there will be a resource tax in front of it, followed by an environmental tax, which will inevitably have a major impact on the ex-factory prices of products,” said a person in charge of a chemical company.
However, some companies have also stated that it is the only choice to adjust the corporate polluting behavior according to the policy direction. Zhou Xueqiang, chief of the environmental protection department of Jiangsu Hengsheng Fertilizer Co., Ltd., said: “In the next five-year planning period, the rule-of-law atmosphere for environmental protection governance will be even stronger. Enterprises will only attach importance to environmental protection as well as to technology research and development and production and management, and they will be willing to invest funds to increase modernization. Environmental protection facilities, the implementation of scientific emissions reduction can be turned into a passive initiative."
According to Minister Xu Bin of the Anling Department of Jiangsu Linggu Chemical Co., Ltd., in order to ensure the smooth implementation of environmental taxes in the future, the state can consider a modest reduction in corporate income tax, business tax, etc., thus hedging the short-term side effects of environmental taxes, thereby realizing environmental protection and Economic development win-win.

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