Preferential Tax Policies: An Invisible Hand behind Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies

Document Type: Perspective

Authors

1 School of Public Finance and Tax, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China

2 International Institute of Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology (ISLE), Hong Kong, China

3 West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

4 Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

5 Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Abstract

The control and prevention of public health emergencies can face severe challenges, especially financial and material challenges during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Enabling and ensuring smooth financial and material flows across levels, within the country, and across countries are essentially important to preparedness for global health emergencies, which cannot easily be achieved without being facilitated by preferential tax policies. China’s preferential tax policy practice developed at early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic could be useful experiences which can be adapted to unique contexts of other countries, so different stakeholders including citizens could be effectively motivated and involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we should see that these policies are temporary and issued as an afterthought. There is still much to learn about how epidemic responders and policy-makers can make the most of each other’s expertise to fit into the wider information architecture of epidemic response.

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