BEIJING (Reuters) - China had a significantly larger fiscal deficit in 2016 than it targeted, according to a Reuters calculation based on preliminary data released on Monday by the Finance Ministry.

The preliminary deficit was 2.83 trillion yuan ($413 billion), which Reuters calculates to be 3.8 percent of gross domestic product.

China had budgeted for a deficit last year of 2.18 trillion yuan - equivalent to 3 percent of GDP.

Beijing has relied on government spending to stabilize economic growth in the past year, but concerns about the country's debt load are increasing.


Fiscal expenditures in 2016 rose 6.4 percent from the previous year, while revenue increased 4.5 percent, the ministry said.

The figures are subject to revisions. In early 2016, its preliminary figures put the 2015 deficit at 2.355 trillion yuan. But the final figures showed a deficit of only 1.62 trillion yuan, or 2.3 percent of GDP.

In 2016, value-added tax (VAT) revenue jumped 30.9 percent from the previous year, while business tax revenue fell 40.4 percent, the ministry said.

The combined VAT and business tax revenue rose 5.4 percent last year, it said.

China made a full switch to a VAT system from a flat business tax for companies last year, which the government had said would save companies 500 billion yuan in taxes for 2016.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk)