BEIJING — An un-named official from the State Council’s Legislative Affairs Office has recently confirmed that it is legal to collect road maintenance fees before the practice is replaced by a long-awaited fuel tax, according to report by Xinhua News Agency.
“It is legal to collect road maintenance fees under the present regulations before the implementation of a fuel tax,” he said.
The official was reponding to recent claims that the road maintenance fee has been illegally collected for the past eight years as a fee instead of a tax. He explained that the government had decided in 2000 to carry out a related tax reform in two steps in the light of the Highway Law. The vehicle purchase tax was first put into effect on January 1, 2001, with plans for the fuel tax to follow at a later date. The preparatory work for the introduction of the fuel tax is still under discussion after years of delay, and a starting date has yet to be decided.
Following the drop in international oil prices over the past couple of months, many people believe that the time has now come to introduce a fuel tax.
However, it unlikely to be put into effect very soon; a notice from the Ministry of Communications regarding the continuation of collection of road maintenance fees throughout the country for 2007 was issued in early November this year. The 2007 premiums became payable as of December 1.
To make it easier for car owners, the time allowance for payment of the first installment has been extended ten days until January 15, 2007. Those who fail to pay the fee on time will be fined.
Presently, owners of a typical sedan must pay a monthly road maintenance fee of ¥110 ($13.75) to be able to use their car on the road.