Chinese couples warned against property tax divorce

Chinese lawyers have warned couples against divorcing to avoid a 20 per cent tax on second home sales.

Several Chinese cities saw a surge in divorce rates earlier this month after the government announced a crackdown on property speculation. Many couples with second homes had rushed to divorce, intending to sell on their additional properties as individuals without paying the tax and then remarry.

But legal experts are now urging such couples to think twice. A lawyer called Zhang Qianlin told Shanghai newspaper Xinmin Weekly:

“People consider the divorces to be fake, but legally speaking they are real. If one party refuses to remarry, there’s nothing the other party can do about it.”

Properties that had previously been jointly owned would also remain the property of one half of the couple after the remarriage, he added, potentially leading to disputes.

Meanwhile, He Zhanbiao of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau told English language newspaper the Shanghai Daily that some husbands could have ulterior motives.

“Some men might trick their wives into getting a divorce using the tax as an excuse, but they might have a mistress and truly want a divorce.”

Photo by Steve Webster via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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