Japan’s Cabinet finalizes bills for changing taxation rules

Kyodo

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finalized on Friday a set of bills to revise Japan’s taxation rules, centering on exempting food items from a consumption tax hike planned in April 2017 and cutting the corporate income tax rate.

The government will submit the bills later in the day, aiming to seek Diet approval by the end of fiscal 2015 on March 31.

“Whether the pieces of legislation would be enacted or not by the end of this fiscal year will have an impact on the economy,” Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters. “We’d like to have them enacted by the end of this fiscal year.”

To ease the increasing burden on low-income consumers, the government is seeking exemptions for all food items from the tax hike to 10 percent from the current 8 percent. However, food served at restaurants would be taxed at the higher rate.

Business operators would use detailed invoices from April 2021 to account for the different tax rates to be introduced. Between April 2017 and March 2021, simplified invoices may be used so businesses can prepare for the detailed accounting method.

The government will also reduce the effective corporate tax rate to 29.97 percent in fiscal 2016 from the current 32.11 percent and further cut the rate to 29.74 percent in fiscal 2018 to encourage firms to expand capital investment and raise wages.