China tells celebrities, livestreamers to correct tax-related offences before 2022

Celebrities and livestreamers are the latest to get caught up in a broad crackdown that initially targeted tech monopolies but has since widened to include private education, social media platforms, and other industries deemed by Beijing to pose an obstacle to its latest goal of reducing economic inequality and achieving 'common prosperity'.

Before the crackdown, tax evasion had already sunk the career of several well-known figures in the entertainment industry. However, Wednesday's notices highlight the broad-ranging and systematic nature of the "common prosperity" crackdown.

President Xi Jinping has called for China to achieve "common prosperity", seeking to narrow a yawning wealth gap that threatens the country's economic ascent and the legitimacy of Communist Party rule.

Tax authorities that have issued the warning include those from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu. Collectively, these cities and provinces make up over half of China's GDP and host the vast majority of high-earning celebrities and livestreamers in the country.

In September, the central government's State Taxation Administration issued a notice announcing measures to strengthen tax administration in the entertainment sector, including livestreamers.

Similar promises of lighter punishment and exemptions for those who reported and corrected tax-related misdoings were also made in the September notice. Since then, more than 1,000 people had taken the initiative to pay tax arrears, according to state media.

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