Chinese Complain Over Decision to Tax Gift Mooncakes

Posted August 29th, 2011 at 3:30 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese residents are seething over a decision by Beijing tax authorities to begin taxing mooncakes, a traditional pastry often distributed by employers as gifts at the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

State-controlled media reported Sunday that the lotus seed paste-stuffed delicacies will be taxed this year as a non-cash benefit, prompting many residents to say they would rather not receive the gifts.

The Global Times newspaper said more than 50,000 people have debated the issue on the micro-blogging site Weibo ahead of the festival, which begins September 12.

In a poll of the site's readers, 96 percent said they opposed the tax. However, Global Times quoted an analyst saying the tax is reasonable and could cut down on waste.

Media reports say the mooncakes have become seriously overpriced, with manufacturers offering ever more elaborate packaging. A typical box of 12 mooncakes costs about $16, but in some cases can be as much as $150.

The origin of the pastries is shrouded in myth and legend.