Understanding the Extended Tax Policies on Returned Cross-Border E-commerce Goods: A Deep Dive into Announcement No. 34 of 2023

In the modern era, cross-border e-commerce has experienced a significant surge, becoming a linchpin in the world of global trade. With its ever-evolving nature, the necessity to maintain a conducive business environment becomes pivotal. China, being a major player in global e-commerce, has made tremendous strides in providing a sustainable environment for this emerging business model. One such move can be witnessed in the recent joint announcement by the General Administration of Customs and the State Taxation Administration (Announcement No. 34 of 2023), which sheds light on the extension of taxation policies pertaining to cross-border e-commerce exported goods that are returned.

I. Revision of the Taxation Policies

The prior joint announcement (Announcement No. 4 of 2023) from the Ministry of Finance, the General Administration of Customs, and the State Taxation Administration provided a framework for a one-year tax policy on exported goods under the supervision of cross-border e-commerce customs codes (1210, 9610, 9710, 9810). Goods that were exported and subsequently returned to the country within six months due to reasons such as unsold stock or returns were exempted from import duties, value-added tax (VAT) at the import link, and consumption tax. Moreover, the export duties levied at the time of export were refundable, while the already collected VAT and consumption tax were treated in accordance with the taxation regulations applicable to domestic goods returned.

Announcement No. 34 of 2023 introduces the following amendments:

(1) Time Frame Modification: The new policy will be in effect from January 30, 2023, to December 31, 2025. This extension signifies China’s commitment to bolstering the growth of cross-border e-commerce and providing a more extended window of support for businesses.

(2) Scope of Applicability: The tax policy will continue to apply to goods declared for export under the cross-border e-commerce customs codes (1210, 9610, 9710, 9810). However, the products, due to reasons such as unsold stock or returns, must be returned to the country in their original state within six months of export. It’s essential to note that food items are excluded from this policy.

(3) Taxation Relief: Goods falling under this policy will be exempted from import duties, VAT at the import link, and consumption tax. Furthermore, businesses can claim refunds for export duties already collected at the time of export. The collected VAT and consumption tax will be managed according to the tax regulations pertaining to domestic goods that are returned.

II. Continuation of Other Provisions

(1) Upholding Previous Regulations: Apart from the changes highlighted, all other provisions pertaining to the tax policy on cross-border e-commerce exported goods returned will remain consistent with the guidelines set forth in Announcement No. 4 of 2023. This consistency ensures a seamless transition and operational clarity for businesses engaged in cross-border e-commerce.


The extension and revision of taxation policies underscore China’s intention to nurture the growth of cross-border e-commerce. By understanding the challenges faced by businesses, especially concerning returns and unsold stock, the government is paving the way for a more resilient and robust e-commerce ecosystem. Such policies not only bolster confidence among businesses but also position China as a frontrunner in shaping the future of global e-commerce.

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