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If you stay in mainland China for more than 183 days ...



Why does this number matter?


How can I keep track of how many days I have stayed in mainland China?


How many hours constitutes one full day?


Does 183 days apply to a calender year?


Does it only apply for 183 consecutive days?


Also – is Hong Kong considered to be “outside mainland China” from the tax point of view?


What are the consequences? If you stay in mainland China for over 183 days within one calendar year, you would have to pay taxes for the income you have earned in China. Under the old rules prior to 2019, if you had been paying taxes in China for 5 years and never left China or lived outside of China for 31 days during the 5-year period, you would need to pay Chinese taxes on all the income that you have earned (both inside and outside of mainland China) during the 6th year.

The good news!


The countdown of the 5-year rule was reset on January 1st, 2019, and the 5-year rule has now become a 6-year rule. What do we mean by “the 5-year countdown has been reset"? Let’s look at an example:


A foreigner started living in China on January 1st, 2014 until December 31st, 2024 (a total of 11 years) and he has stayed in mainland China for 183 days in each of those 11 calendar years.As long as he has taken a “break” and stayed away from mainland China consecutively for 31 days before December 31st, 2024 (technically speaking he needs to leave China on/before November 30th, 2024), then for the income he had earned in the year 2025 (assuming he plans on spending 183 days in mainland China in 2025), he would only need to pay Chinese tax on the income he had earned in China. He does not have to pay Chinese tax on income that he had earned outside of mainland China.


For the same case under the old rules, a foreigner who started living in China on January 1st, 2014 and stayed for more than 183 days in each of the years until December 31st, 2018, and did not take a 31-day break, he would have to pay Chinese tax on all income he earns (both in and outside China) in the year

2019 and the years after.


What? Are we making you more confused than before? It's complicated!


If you are an expat and you have lived in China for approximately 183 days, please feel free to leave us your contact information below, and we will offer the first 10 respondents a complimentary consultation on their questions regarding the 183-day cases. A questionnaire will be sent out, so we can perform a check on your individual income tax (IIT) status!


CLICK to enter your information below, and our team will reach out to you shortly.


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