China finance official flags property tax in 'near future'

FILE PHOTO: New properties are seen near a square in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Yawen Chen/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China could implement a property tax in the “near future,” Huang Qifan, deputy chairman of the economic and finance committee under the National People’s Congress, said at a conference on Thursday.

Huang said that a property tax will help curb speculation in the sector. China has been discussing a recurring property tax for years, but public progress on the initiative ground to a halt after a very limited pilot scheme was rolled out in 2011.

“I believe (a property tax) will happen in the near future, not take 10-20 years. It could happen in the next several years,” he said.

Huang was appointed to the largely rubber-stamp parliament earlier this year and is considered a leading financial expert in China but is best known for his term as mayor of Chongqing.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by Elias Glenn; Editing by Shri Navaratnam