The Shenzhen Municipal Office of the State Administration of Taxation has announced a partnership with the Shenzhen-based tech giant, Tencent, aimed at fighting tax fraud.
The joint project, called the "Intelligent Tax" Innovation Laboratory, was formalized at a signing ceremony Thursday. According to a government statement, the lab:
"…aims to leverage the professional advantages of Shenzhen's national taxation in tax collection and taxation services and Tencent's technological advantages in the areas of Internet platform construction, R&D and applications."
More specifically, the lab hopes to find a technological solution to the widespread problem of fake fapiao, official government invoices that are frequently counterfeited for the purposes of tax evasion and embezzlement.
The problem of falsified fapiao is far from new. In 2013, the New York Times reported that a government official received the death penalty for using false fapiao to embezzle millions of dollars. That case followed the Chinese government's claims that during 2009 and 2010 it had closed down more than 75,000 counterfeiting operations.
"The digital invoice based on blockchain technology has features such as complete traceability of the whole process and non-disruptive information … [it] can effectively avoid false invoices, and improve the invoice supervision process," said Li Wei, deputy director of the Shenzhen taxation office, according to the government statement.
According to the South China Morning Post, Tencent announced, "We hope to make every fapiao checkable, verifiable, reliable and traceable, and use blockchain technology to manage the whole circulation process of fapiaos."