20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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annual sales revenues, the ratio of revenues attributed to high and new technology products or services to total revenues, and other measures set forth in relevant guidance. All enterprises that had been granted the “High and New Technology Enterprise” status before the effectiveness of the EIT Law are required to be re-examined in accordance with the measures mentioned above before they can be entitled to the preferential tax rate. A “High and New Technology Enterprise” certificate is effective for a period of three years. A number of our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities, such as Baidu Online and Baidu Netcom, obtained the “High and New Technology Enterprise” certificates. The related tax holiday under such “High and New Technology Enterprise” certificates of these entities will expire in 2017, 2018 or 2019.

If any entity fails to maintain the “High and New Technology Enterprise” qualification under the EIT Law, their tax rates will increase, which could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position. Historically, all of the PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities mentioned above successfully re-applied for the certificates when the prior ones expired.

An enterprise may benefit from a preferential tax rate of 10% under the EIT law if it qualifies as a “Key Software Enterprise.” Enterprises wishing to enjoy the status of a “Key Software Enterprise” must file required supporting documents with the tax authorities before applying the preferential corporate income tax rate. These enterprises will be subject to relevant governmental authorities’ assessment each year as to whether they are entitled to the preferential tax rate of 10%. Baidu Online was entitled to a preferential income tax rate of 10% from 2013 to 2015 due to its “Key Software Enterprise” status. Baidu China was also entitled to a preferential income tax rate of 10% for 2015 due to its “Key Software Enterprise” status. Prior to May 2016, a “Key Software Enterprise” used to be designated jointly by the National Development and Reform Commission, the MIIT, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation. In May 2016, the four PRC governmental authorities jointly issued a notice, pursuant to which an enterprise may be entitled to the preferential income tax rate of 10% by filing with the local tax authority with supporting documentation proving its qualifications to be a “Key Software Enterprise” during its annual income tax filing process. The “Key Software Enterprise” status of Baidu Online and Baidu China for 2016 will be filed with tax authorities before the end of May 2017 and will be subject to relevant governmental authorities’ assessment.

If our PRC subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities that have enjoyed preferential tax treatment no longer qualify for the treatment, we will consider available options under applicable law that would enable us to qualify for alternative preferential tax treatment. To the extent we are unable to offset the impact of the expiration of existing preferential tax treatment with new tax exemptions, tax incentives or other tax benefits, the expiration of existing preferential tax treatment may cause our effective tax rate to increase. The amount of income tax payable by our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities in the future will depend on various factors, including, among other things, the results of operations and taxable income of, and the statutory tax rate applicable to, each of the entities. Our effective tax rate depends partially on the extent of the relative contribution of each of our subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities to our consolidated taxable income. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, our consolidated effective tax rate was 15.41%, 14.44% and 20.08%, respectively.

Withholding Tax

Under the EIT Law and its implementation rules, dividends, interests, rent or royalties payable by a foreign-invested enterprise, such as our PRC subsidiaries, to any of its non-resident enterprise investors, and proceeds from any such non-resident enterprise investor’s disposition of assets (after deducting the net value of such assets) shall be subject to a 10% EIT, namely withholding tax, unless the non-resident enterprise investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty or arrangement with China that provides for a reduced withholding tax rate or an exemption from withholding tax. The Caishui (2008) No. 1 Notice clarifies that undistributed profits earned by foreign-invested enterprises prior to January 1, 2008 will be exempted from any withholding tax.

 

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