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onebir

renting in beijing - the foreigner rental tax

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onebir

i just rented an appartment in dongzhimen. in that area - and possibly others - rents are subject to a 5% tax, payable by the landlord. when they have chinese tenants, who don't need to register, most landlords dont pay it. they claim the tenants are friends/relatives.

foreigners on the other hand REALLY DO NEED TO REGISTER - otherwise it's difficult to extend their visas. this discourages landlords from renting to foreigners. in fact apparently my landlord tried to withdraw from the contract when she found out i was a foreigner - the (idiot) agents neglected to tell her, failed to tell me about the tax issue, and weren't helpful/well informed when the problem arose.

fortunately i'd hired a second agent who was able to suggest a way to reduce the cost (an er other contract with a lower rental). but i had an unnecessarily fraught day or two...

if anyone has further "renting in beijing experiences" i'd quite like to hear about them...

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doumeizhen

It is wise to register, even if, according to some, this means that a careful eye will be kept on you. (sh)

And, if you do move, make sure that you change your address at the local police station (is that where you do it?) as soon as possible or be prepared to lie. My roommate and I did neither as she was out of town when we moved, so our landlord suggested, and we agreed, that we'll just do it when she got back. I am certain that it would have been ok had my landlord not tried to sneak us in through the backdoor, demanding that she knows so and so, and landed us a very large room with a very large table with a large quantity of ashtrays, where we were interrogated and our landlord was scolded. Our 'iterrogation' was hardly worth the name, but I refused to admit to anything I didn't understand, and hadn't learned the word for 'monetary fine' yet. Once we figured out that the most they could charge us was 50 bucks (and keep in mind we hadn't eaten) we agreed that we were wrong, were sorry, will never do it again, and will tell all the foreigners we know. They had to hand transcribe the whole thing, so they were thrilled, and let us off with a small confession, stating that we'll be more prompt in the future. They even had me write my friends statement (one of those great: 'But she looks Chinese, what do you mean she can't write' situations!), but I didn't feel the need to point out that this was just as bad as our not registering. :wink:

Should you even be in this situation, you can ask them for a certificate (they have to hand copy transcripts so if you've taken more than a page to confess, don't bother!) of your detention.

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roddy

Has anyone got any references to this 'rental tax' thing? I've never heard anything official about it, the documentation I've seen regarding temporary registration for foreigners has never mentioned it, and I'm vaguely curious (mainly because I should be working). I had a bit of a search in Chinese, but not knowing the exact terms in Chinese makes that a bit of a waste of time.

Roddy

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self-taught-mba

I haven't had to run into the rental tax thing. Maybe they just added onto the cost of the red but I don't know. The registering situation that's a whole other story. (Someone beat me to it was going to be thread)

I have had considerable trouble registering. Long story short: they try to pass off the responsibility and or they are just too lazy to bother doing it. They threw up all kinds of barriers and excuses about why I should register. They even wanted the landlord to accompany me down to local police station. What a mess!

I think part of it is also because I live in an area where there are no foreigners, they've never had to do this kind of thing before and they don't want to start now.

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roddy

Probably, but if I remember correctly the regulations do require that your landlord, or at least your landlord's ID card, go to the police station with you. 'Course, regulations is only regulations.

Someone beat me to it was going to be thread

What, we're missing an ST-MBA epic, complete with voice recognition errors? There goes my week . . .

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self-taught-mba
What, we're missing an ST-MBA epic, complete with voice recognition errors? There goes my week . . .

Fair enough LOL :mrgreen: I'm not the best writer in the world

I didn't know that about the landlord ID thank you. Their whole tone was nothing but excuses though. I guess I can't really blame them. I just have to make sure to CMA.

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roddy

There are some details, although not the full regulations, here in Chinese.

I'm asking a couple of people about the rental tax, but as far as I can figure out, what the OP says

rents are subject to a 5% tax, payable by the landlord. when they have chinese tenants, who don't need to register, most landlords dont pay it. they claim the tenants are friends/relatives.

is presumably correct. However, the police station won't collect that, the tax bureau would, and I'm not sure how efficient communication between the two would be.

Roddy

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onebir
However, the police station won't collect that, the tax bureau would, and I'm not sure how efficient communication between the two would be.

Your landlord goes to the tax office, pays up, and gets a tax receipt (税票 i think); the tenant takes that to the police station and (if they can be bothered) they give you the residence certificate...

So you effectively take care of communications between the tax office and police for them...

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roddy

Ah, ok, that makes sense. Seems like some police stations aren't that worried about getting the proof of tax paid, but your milage will vary on that I guess.

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carlo

I know some people who have their work address listed as their residence address in the 外国人居留证. If you can pull that off (police don't seem to care that much as long as you have a valid address), couldn't you just stay at your "friend's" house without paying any tax? Just wondering, haven't had this problem yet.

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PollyWaffle

in mid 2004 all my student friends knew of this tax, or at least knew that there was some kind of fee based on the % of rent you paid... at the time some people's landlords took them to the local police, while others, like mine, said it was too mafan & it would cost me money...

as i said in this thread http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/356-vegetarian-food9 , i was forced to register so my friend could get an X visa... not only did i have to pay the tax (NOT my landlord & NOT to the tax department!) but also i was fined... my landlord lied about the amount of rent i was paying & told me before hand that I would be paying not him!!... also, i only paid 3 months of this tax & not for the entire 7 months i lived there... was i spossed to go back later to pay the rest? who cares?

really, you can get away with not registering because like most things in china, it is only against the law if you get caught... in fact the local cop knew of me before i went to register (i'd spoken to him a few times in passing) but because of the paper work (this all took a month to complete!) didn't care if i registered or not... i would have gotten away without registering if not for my friend's visa problem...

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khawley

Hi All-

I'm trying to sublet my apartment, but i've run into a few issues.

1) The landlord never registered me with the tax agency.

2) If I sublease, I need to get a new lease written (2 months) and pay another rental agent fee.

3) If the subleaser is foreign, I have to register them with the police dept. Which means, the tax issue comes around.

4) i'm allowed to have a roomate, but the landlord is saying i still need to sign a new lease if i get a roommate.

I'm just hoping to get some light shed on these statements. I'm losing a lot of money, need to return back to the states, and trying to not lose it all.

Any thoughts?

Kate

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Cat Jones

Hi all,

Just a quick post to those new to Beijing regarding police tax. We nearly rented an apartment through an agency in Huanquin Jiayuan who said they would help us to negotiate a discount on the police tax which is 5% of the rent.

It would seem that this tax should be paid by the landlord, NOT by the tenant. We didn't take the apartment in the end, partly as it wasn't good enough, but also due to suspicions re: the police tax. Apparently many landlords try to pass on this tax to their tenants

I just wanted to warn those of you who might be arriving in Beijing soon and looking to rent an apartment. Watch out for this!

Cat

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imron
It would seem that this tax should be paid by the landlord, NOT by the tenant. We didn't take the apartment in the end, partly as it wasn't good enough, but also due to suspicions re: the police tax. Apparently many landlords try to pass on this tax to their tenants

Yep. This is something that in theory the landlord is supposed to pay, but in practice often gets passed on to the tenant. If the landlord has his mind set to pass it on to the tenant because he knows there'll be another one coming along shortly if you decline, then there's not really much you can do to change that. Either you give the place a miss or you pay the 5%. Personally, I don't get if they landlord really doesn't want to pay this, why they don't just factor the 5% into the total rent :roll:

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Cat Jones

Yeah you would think they would add it to the rent. I guess you are right though, there's not a great deal you can do if they insist you pay it :(

We rented through a private landlord, I wonder if she even knows about the tax as I think she's renting her place for the first time.

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imron

If you are registered at the local police station then they are almost certainly paying the tax, because if they didn't show proof of that at registration, they'll be getting a follow up asking for it.

That's the main reason landlords try to get foreign tenants to pay the tax. Normally they are supposed to pay it regardless of the nationality of the tenant, but with a Chinese tenant they can just pretend they are a relative or a friend or something, and don't really have to worry about registering with the police. With no written record, and rent payments in cash, there's no paper trail and hence 'no need' to pay the tax. With a foreigner it's different because foreigners need to be registered, and hence there is written evidence of a tenant, including a contract with the rental amount and therefore no way to avoid the tax.

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Cat Jones

I need to register at the police station today so it will be interesting to see what happens with regard to the tax. I have a copy of the lanbdlord's ID card so I guess they will contact her directly.

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roddy

"The police tax" :D

If you are registered at the local police station then they are almost certainly paying the tax, because if they didn't show proof of that at registration, they'll be getting a follow up asking for it.

You forgot the 'depending on the police station' caveat - Jiaodaokou police didn't care - my last landlord ('s horrible wife) had said if they were asked for any tax I'd have to pay it. I registered fine, didn't hear anything about it all year. Which saved me an argument.

Wudaokou rental market is just ridiculous at this time of year - they've probably factored in the tax, a 30% premium for being in Huaqing Jiayuan, a 15% cut for the agent, then decided that actually, they'll ask you to pay the tax again.

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Freek

Wondering if anyone got past this problem without paying massive amounts?

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imron

Is paying 5% a massive amount?

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