The taxi stopped at the designated parking spot.
“Here we are at the Municipal Tax Bureau. That would be 22RMB.” After parking, the driver said as he turned to Yuan Zhou.
“Thank you. Here is 25RMB.” Yuan Zhou drew out a black wallet. He then took 25RMB out and gave it to the driver before sitting back leisurely, waiting for his change.
The driver gave back the change quickly. In a short while, Yuan Zhou left the taxi with 3RMB in his hands which he proceeded to stuff into his wallet in a carefree manner.
The tax bureau was about 200 meters away from where the taxi stopped. Even though Yuan Zhou seemed old, he was still a good 177cm or so. With an amiable pace, he arrived at the main hall in 5 minutes.
The main hall of the tax bureau was spacious and bright. The tax-paying location was also clearly indicated. Yuan Zhou had already steeled his heart in preparation for paying the tax, hence he joined the line to take his waiting number.
The taxpaying procedures in the tax bureau resembled those of a bank, confirming the size of his restaurant, showing his business license and last paying amount that was due. The tax rate for individual business like Yuan Zhou’s was fixed and not high. Nevertheless, Yuan Zhou’s restaurant was different. Due to the high price of his dishes, he had to pay tax as a small-scale taxpayer.
There were several counters for different kinds of taxpayers, for example, sole traders, small-scale taxpayers, manufacturing business and merchandise enterprises, etc, and all were fairly complicated. For chain restaurants and large-scale food and beverage enterprises, they usually paid tax by wire transfer through banks. Actually, Yuan Zhou could have paid tax by wire transfer. However, he had to declare the revenue for the first month after getting his business license, operating permit and certificate at the Bureau of Commodity Prices.
Holding the blank form in his hands, Yuan Zhou was rather hesitant. Was it possible to declare lower revenue on his form? This way, he could avoid paying more tax. However, once he thought of the clearly indicated prices in his restaurant and the swarm of customers, he knew he would be found out instantly if he was investigated. In the end, after much hesitation, he wrote the amount the system provided.
Soon, it was Yuan Zhou’s turn at Counter 1.
“Hello. Please show me the copies of your business license and the certificate from the Bureau of Commodity Prices, your identification certificate, and the completed revenue declaration forms.” Behind the counter was a cute and pretty girl, who spoke fluent Mandarin in a sweet voice.
“xi xi suo suo”
Yuan Zhou handed all papers in his hands to the girl behind the counter in one go. “They are all here.”
After saying that, Yuan Zhou took out his bank card, getting ready to pay by card. Yuan Zhou had originally intended to pay in cash and let the cashiers slowly recount the amount. Later he realized that a big bag was required to carry 200 grand RMB; furthermore, it was very eye-catching.
After considering the risk involved, he gave up the plan quietly and decided to pay by card.
“Sir, did you declare a wrong amount? This report form can’t be corrected, thus you need to fill out the form again.” the reception girl held up his report form and said.
“No, I didn’t. That’s correct.” Yuan Zhou shook his head and said convincingly.
“The size of your restaurant is only 30 square meters. But the revenue is an astonishing 3 million. Are you sure that you didn’t fill in the wrong number?” The girl carefully explained to him in an annoyed tone. At the end, she added, “If you hand it in, you will have to pay a tremendous amount of tax.”
“My restaurant is a little special. The amount is correct. That’s it.” Yuan Zhou said in a resolute and decisive tone.
The reception girl got slightly irritated. She didn’t try to remind him anymore but rang the bell directly to call for the Vice Division Chief.
“Xiao Qian, what’s the matter?” A bald man in a suit, so tight that it seemed to be wrapped around his body, walked over to Xiao Qian and asked.
Xiao Qian briefly summarized the situation to the man. He then raised his head and took a look at Yuan Zhou, who was seated there earnestly.
“Xiao Qian, let me talk to him.” The bald man shooed the girl aside and sat down on her seat.
“Young man, check carefully your papers. They are not filled correctly. In you fill them out like that, you will have to pay tax based on this criteria in the future. I’m afraid that your restaurant is too small to afford that.” the bald man said in an easy-going tone, with a hint of disregard.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t quite understand. All papers you require are here. Is there any problem?” Yuan Zhou asked while pointing at the papers in the hands of the bald man.
“You are such a stubborn person, didn’t you listen carefully? You had better think it over before you hand in the papers.” The bald man got annoyed at Yuan Zhou’s attitude. He flipped the copies open and prepared to accept them once he realized that Yuan Zhou didn’t intend to follow his advice at all.
The previous documents all appeared normal, hence he flipped directly to the document stating the price approved by the authority.
Each restaurant could price the dishes by themselves. According to the rules concerning pricing by the Bureau of Commodity Prices, as long as the customers were able to see the prices easily and did not contain any invisible charges, they were basically deemed reasonable.
For Yuan Zhou’s restaurant, the basic price that was declared and approved was the 188RMB Egg Fried Rice. When he submitted the information to the Bureau of Commodity Prices previously, the staff there all believed Yuan Zhou had opened a restaurant for fun. Who would go to a tiny eatery, with an area less than 50 square meters for such expensive Egg Fried Rice?
The bald man, nevertheless, was surprised at the price of the Egg Fried Rice and the revenue that Yuan Zhou had declared just now. If the price was true, it was also normal for Yuan Zhou to declare the revenue like this. What he felt abnormal was the size of the restaurant written clearly on the copy of the business license. It was only 30 square meters.
The bald man felt that the problem lay in either his own eyes or this calm-looking man in front of him.
Having sorted out all the papers in silence, the bald man opened his mouth, “Sir, I have approved all your papers. The amount to be paid is 215,388 RMB. Do you want to pay by cash or by card?”
“By card.” Yuan Zhou took out the bank card from his wallet arrogantly before handing it over to the bald man inside the counter.
“One moment please.” After swiping the card through the POS machine, a voice sounded, “Please enter your password.”
It was smooth sailing from then on. A little while later, Yuan Zhou walked out of the tax bureau with a 200 grand RMB receipt. When he turned his head and looked at the gate, he had the impression that the tax bureau was just like a money devouring beast.
On the other side, the bald man gathered the copies of all the papers and said to the teller, Xiao Qian, standing by his side, “I’m taking this case to the Division Chief for a review.”
“All right. Sorry for bothering you.” Xiao Qian sat down again and began to work on her next case.
Taking Yuan Zhou’s files, the bald man went to the office of the Division Chief.
“Dong Dong”, the Vice Division Chief knocked on the door.
“Come in.” A powerful voice passed from inside.
“Vice Division Chief Lee, come and sit down. What’s the matter?” after the door was opened, a genial middle-aged man dressed in a smart-looking suit and with neatly-combed hair said in a hurry.
“Division Chief, it’s like this…” the Vice Division Chief, namely the bald man, summarized the situation briefly and to the point.
“Well done, Vice Division Chief Lee. That a small restaurant could declare such a huge amount of revenue is awfully suspicious.” the Division Chief first agreed on the bald man’s suspicions but then said in contrast, “Nevertheless, we don’t have any evidence. So Vice Division Chief Lee, I would have to trouble you to pay the restaurant a visit in person to check the situation.”
“Since we are being supported by taxpayers, we have to do some practical work as well.” The division chief looked at the bald man expectantly.
“Alright. Tomorrow I will drop by for an inspection.” Seeing that the Division Chief had given the order, the bald man could only agree.
As for Yuan Zhou, he suddenly got a new mission the moment he stepped out of the gate.
Nonetheless, the contents of the mission made Yuan Zhou stunned.