China's Ministry of Finance has confirmed that the new tax framework covering goods purchased from overseas retailers online is not applicable to the overseas purchases of Chinese tourists.
The Ministry has emphasized that, following some confusion about their application, the new tax rules cover only imported goods purchased online. The changes are intended to create a more level playing field for Chinese domestic retailers.
From April 8, cross-border online transactions are not subject to value-added tax providing the transaction is worth no more than RMB2,000 (USD310) per transaction. This exemption is limited to RMB20,000 per person each year.
Goods exceeding those limits may be subjected to tariffs, import value-added tax (VAT), and consumption tax.
As a transitional measure, a zero rate tariff applies to online imports and import VAT and consumption tax is being levied at 70 percent of the normal rates.
The exemption from import duties for products purchased by Chinese tourists returning from foreign countries remains unchanged. Resident passengers may bring in duty-free articles for personal use worth a maximum RMB5,000. Duty is payable on the value of goods exceeding that threshold.