Mon, May 08, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Online filing an option for taxpayers

By Cheng Chi-fang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Filing taxes online has become a common alternative to the nightmare of lining up in packed tax offices in May, the Taxation Agency said.

According to Ministry of Finance statistics, out of more than 5.16 million taxpayers last year, 1.71 million filed their income tax returns through the Internet, and the figure is expected to exceed 2 million this year.

One major change in the tax rules this year is the combined tax deduction for married couples, which has been raised to NT$88,000 from the previous NT$67,000.

In addition to income tax, property owners have to pay the house tax -- which is a tax on residential and commercial buildings -- with the world's tallest building, Taipei 101, expected to pay the highest rates in this item.

The house tax is based on the current value of a building.

The location, age and building materials of the homes and businesses are major factors in the assessment.

In the past, income taxes were levied from February to March. Now that this has been pushed back to May, it coincides with the levy of the house tax. With both these taxes levied on the heels of the vehicle license registration tax in April, some taxpayers are grumbling.

While the timing of the house tax may inconvenience homeowners, their fiscal worries pale in comparison to Taipei 101, which must pay more than NT$200 million (US$6.3 million) in house taxes this month -- NT$130 million more than the revenue from house taxes in the whole of Penghu County.

Taxpayers should also be aware that the house tax for businesses is twice that of regular homes, and that if there has been any change in the property's status, the authorities should be notified.

However, the Ministry of Finance has opted to continue levying the house tax in May, citing local governments' fiscal needs and taxpayers' already entrenched tax-filing habits for that month.

The good news is that taxpayers have a number of options at their disposal when paying the house tax, including automatic teller machine (ATM) transfers, automatic bank account deductions and payment by credit cards and IC cash withdrawal cards.

Taxes can also be paid in person at supermarkets or at Internal Revenue Service offices.

Those offices as well as township offices and city halls are open to taxpayers with questions and requests; taxpayers can also apply for extensions at such offices.

As the last day of this month is the Dragon Boat Festival, the deadline for filing tax returns has been extended to June 1.

Additional reporting by Jessie Ho

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