Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

China: Rules on Tax Deduction for Elderly Support Released

(Dec. 31, 2018) On December 22, 2018, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) released the Interim Measures on Additional Special Deductions for Individual Income Taxes. The Measures, among other things, allow a taxpayer to deduct 24,000 Chinese yuan RMB (about US$3,500) per year from taxable income for the sake of supporting elderly parents and grandparents. (Geren Suodeshui Zhuanxiang Fujia Kouchu Zanxing Banfa [Interim Measures on Additional Special Deductions for Individual Income Taxes] (Guo Fa [2018] No. 41, Dec. 13, 2018, released Dec. 22, 2018, effective Jan. 1, 2019), State Council website.)

China’s newly revised Individual Income Tax Law, which will take effect on January 1, 2019, includes the “additional special deductions” for the following expenses: children’s education, continuing education, medical treatment for serious illness, housing mortgage interest, housing rentals, and elderly support. (Laney Zhang, China: Individual Income Tax Law Revised, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Sept. 24, 2018).) The Law authorizes the State Council to formulate detailed rules on these deductions. (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Geren Suodeshui Fa [Law of the People’s Republic of China on Individual Income Tax] (adopted by the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Sept. 10, 1980, last revised Aug. 31, 2018, effective Jan. 1, 2019) art. 6, NPC website.)

According to the Measures, a taxpayer may claim a standard monthly deduction of RMB2,000 (about US$290) for elderly support if he or she is a single child. When a taxpayer is not a single child, the RMB2,000 deduction is split among the siblings, and each of them may claim no more than RMB1,000. (Measures art. 22.) The “elderly” defined by the Measure include parents over 60 years old, and grandparents over 60 whose children have all passed away. (Id. art. 23.)

The Measures also provide detailed rules for other additional special deductions under the new Individual Income Tax Law. For example, parents may claim a standard deduction of RMB1,000 per month per child for educational expenses from preschool (starting at three years old) through higher education (including master’s and doctor’s degree programs). (Id. art. 5.)

Under Chinese law, adult children are legally obligated to support their elderly parents and, in some cases, grandparents. Article 21 of the PRC Marriage Law provides that parents are obligated to bring up and educate their children, and children are obligated to support and assist their parents. The same article states that if children fail to perform their duty, parents who are unable to work or have difficulties supporting themselves have the right to demand support payments from their children. (PRC Marriage Law (promulgated Sept. 10, 1980, revised Apr. 28, 2001) art. 21, NPC website.) Furthermore, the Marriage Law provides that grandparents, if they can afford it, are obligated to bring up minor grandchildren whose parents are dead or have no means to bring them up; grandchildren, if they can afford it, are obligated to support their grandparents whose children are dead or have no means to support them. (Id. art. 28.)