Chinese Livestreaming Queen Viya Fined $210.3 Million for Tax Evasion

Chinese state-run media Xinhua learned on Monday that the taxation department of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, found that a famous livestreamer Huang Wei, better known as Viya, evaded taxes totaling 643 million yuan ($101 million) and underpaid other taxes by 60 million yuan by concealing personal income, among other offences from 2019 and 2020. The organ made a tax administrative punishment decision on Huang Wei according to laws and regulations with a total fine of 1.341 billion yuan ($210.3 million).

For the fine, 500 million yuan counts for tax evasion of hidden income but later reported by the livestreamer and 31 million yuan for tax underpayment. This amount caused Viya a fine of 319 million yuan, 0.6 times the original amount. The 27 million yuan in evaded taxes on hidden income that Viya did not take the initiative to report caused her a four-fold fine of 109 million yuan. For 116 million yuan of tax evasion and underpayment of fictitious business conversion income, the regulators decided to impose a double fine of 116 million yuan on Viya. A few days ago, the taxation department delivered the decision on tax administrative punishment to Huang Wei according to the law.

The relevant person in charge of the Hangzhou taxation department pointed out that tax authorities will continue to strengthen the supervision of workers in the livestreaming industry. The regulators will conduct joint inspections on relevant companies that manage livestreamers and network platform enterprises who assist in tax evasion, severely investigate and deal with tax-related violations according to law, and create a fair tax environment.

In order to strengthen the tax management of employees in the entertainment field, local tax authorities strengthened the tax collection and management of online celebrities in September this year.

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On November 22 of this year, through the analysis of big data, the taxation department of Hangzhou found that two well-known livestreamers, Zhu Chenhui, also known as Xueli Cherie online, and Lin Shanshan, evaded personal income tax, set up sole proprietorship enterprises in many places, and fictitious business transformed their personal wages and salaries and labor remuneration into operating income of sole proprietorship enterprises.

The above-mentioned two people were recovered by the taxation department of Hangzhou, and were charged with fines of 65.5531 million yuan and 27.6725 million yuan, respectively. This is the first case of tax evasion by famous livestreamers disclosed in this round of investigations by Chinese authorities.