China probing tax evasion in film industry

China tax authorities have asked local bureaus to carry out investigations in to the country's film and TV industry as part of a crackdown on tax cheats.

China plans to launch a tax evasion investigation into the country's film and television industry.

Some of the country's most famous actors have been accused of signing so called "yin-yang" contracts - one contract setting out agreed payment terms and a second one with a lower figure for the tax authorities to avoid payment of tax.

China's cinema market is worth $US8.6 billion ($A11.3 billion).

The State Administration of Taxation (SAT), in a statement posted on its official website on Sunday, asked local bureaus in the southern province of Jiangsu, among others, to carry out investigations.

"If violations of tax laws and rules are found, they will be dealt with in accordance with the law," the SAT said.

The last time a high-profile artist was entangled in a tax investigation was in 2002, when 1980s actress Liu Xiaoqing was imprisoned for a year for tax evasion.

So-called "yin-yang" contract -- a widely used expression in China meaning real and fake agreements operating side-by-side -- is commonplace across the country for every type of acquisition, from real estate to football clubs.

China has been cracking down on tax cheats as demands grow on the nation's coffers.

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