Who's affected: Chinese pastry-lovers
The bottom line: In the midst of last year's economic downturn, Chinese authorities upped their tax-collection efforts (which are usually notoriously lax) in a bid to top up the state's coffers. One of their main targets was the mooncake -- a pastry stuffed with lotus seed paste and egg yolks, or "whatever the baker feels like chucking in," that is a ubiquitous delicacy especially popular in the fall.
Mooncakes were traditionally given out during the Mid-Autumn Festival (historically a time of moon worship) to friends and family to cement relationships. But now, many businesses also offer mooncakes to employees or provide coupon vouchers redeemable at local groceries for the treat. Additionally, the cakes are given as a sort of soft bribe to employers, party officials. Where bakers saw a mooncake explosion, government officials saw yuan signs -- and launched an inspection of more than 3,100 companies last year, slapping 30 billion yuan worth of back taxes on gifted mooncakes and coupons. In modern China, apparently, you can have your cake and tax it too.