Joyce Wen and Teresa Huang
In recent years, live webcasting has become prevalent, and legal issues such as the lack of management responsibility of live webcasting platforms involved in live webcasting and the evasion of tax payment have emerged frequently. To further regulate the profit-making behavior of live webcasting, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the State Administration of Taxation, and the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly issued the Opinions on Further Regulating the Profit-making Behavior of Live Webcasting for the Healthy Development of the Industry (hereinafter, the “Opinions”) on March 25, 2022 to promote the normal development of the live webcasting industry.
The Opinions clearly carry out the responsibility of live webcasting platforms as the management entities and strengthen the administration of live webcasting account registration and account classification management. Webcasting platforms are required to increase the access thresholds and authenticate and register the identity information and industry qualifications of live webcasters in strict accordance with laws and regulations, and ensure their thorough knowledge of the live webcasters. Pursuant to the Opinions, live webcasting platforms should submit to the local provincial cybersecurity authority and competent tax authority every six months information such as the personal identity, live webcasting accounts, network nicknames, pay accounts, income types, and profit status of the live webcasters that engage in profit-seeking live webcasting.
The Opinions point out that live webcasting platforms and live webcast service providers are required to fulfill their personal income tax withholding obligations pursuant to law. In 2021, a well-known live webcaster evaded tax by hiding personal income, fabricating the type of business for conversion of income, and making fraudulent filings, and was ultimately compelled to supplement the tax and pay the late payment fees and penalty for a total of RMB 1.341 billion. Tax authorities have also gradually strengthened the tax supervision of practitioners in the live webcasting industry, and conducted coordinated inspections of artist agencies and agents, Internet platform enterprises, and intermediaries that assist in tax evasion. According to the Opinions, the sources and nature of various types of income of live webcast publishers should be clearly distinguished and defined. It is prohibited to establish a “guild” of live webcast publishers, use a third-party enterprise, or enter into an exemption agreement with live webcast publishers that the obligation to withhold and pay personal tax will not be performed in order to transfer or evade the obligation to withhold and pay personal income tax, or even to plan, aid, and carry out tax evasion for live webcast publishers.
Currently, some laws and regulations for the live webcasting industry have been introduced in this nation, such as the Provisions on the Administration of Internet Live-Webcasting Services, the Circular on Enhancing the Administration of Internet Live-Webcasting Services, the Measures for the Administration of the Internet Live-Webcasting Marketing, etc. As the primary entities under live webcasting supervision, live webcasting platforms should assume their legal liability as platforms to promote the normal development of the live webcasting industry.
 News link：http://fanfu.people.com.cn/BIG5/n1/2021/1221/c64371-32313198.html