Was China's Recent Housing Boom Partially a Tax Ploy?

Bloomberg: China's About to Start Its Biggest Tax Overhaul in Two Decades
The plan will ease corporate payments by 500 billion yuan ($77 billion) this year, with much of that total coming at the expense of local governments. The central government plans to further expand its budget deficit to help cover the shortfall and may redistribute some VAT revenue back to provinces.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Business taxes are collected by the local government and fund local spending. VAT taxes are collected by the central government. This is why the VAT split between central and local governments has been changed from 75/25 to 50/50. See Reuters: 中国国务院:全面实施营改增后中央和地方分享增值税收入五五分

Due to the VAT's rollout reform, business taxes on real estate, construction and finance grew from about 68 percent of business tax revenue to 82 percent. (话题:全面实施"营改增" 商业地产的春天来了吗?)
Since 2012, transportation, part of the modern service industry, rail transport, postal services and telecommunications have been included in the scope of the pilot. Real estate, construction, financial services and life become Write reform of the industry, these three industries sales tax increase from 1063.1 to 1580.1 billion, accounting for sales tax share rose from 67.51% to 81.82%.
Also: China's Biggest Tax Reform in 2 Decades Set to Buoy Growth
The construction, property, finance and consumer service sectors contribute 80 percent of China’s total business tax revenue, which in turn accounts for about 40 percent of total provincial government revenues.
If you are a local government looking at the government switching the tax system on May 1, where you go from collecting real estate taxes (business taxes on developers) to a VAT system where you have to wait to get your money, it makes a lot of sense to front load real estate sales if at all possible. To do so would also uphold the central government's mandate to reduce housing inventory.

If this was a factor in the recent housing frenzy, we should see a larger than expected slowdown in sales in the coming months.

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