Sat, Nov 11, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Finance minister reiterates resolve on taxation plan

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (何志欽) yesterday reiterated the government's resolve to push amendments to cancel the tax-free status of military personnel and teachers during the current legislative session.

The issue of reinstating the two groups' taxpayer status has been mulled for more than 20 years but has encountered various obstacles.

However a resolution seemed at hand with the Ministry of Education's recent announcement that it has completed a list of complementary measures to facilitate the plan. The Ministry of National Defense finalized its version a long time ago.

Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) visited Ho on Wednesday to exchange opinions on pushing through the necessary amendments to the Income Tax Law (所得稅法), and to say that the National Teachers' Association (全國教師會) and local governments' education bureaus have reached consensus on the issue, Ho said during a press briefing.

"I can say with cautious optimism, we'll drum up the necessary support from the legislative caucuses and the amendments will pass three readings during the current legislative session," the minister said, adding that the regulation change could increase tax revenue by NT$15 billion (US$457 million).

A proposal to levy an energy tax, which will be tagged on the current commodity tax and vehicle fuel fees, and reforms of the inheritance and gift taxes will be postponed to the next legislative session, Ho said.

Late last month, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) suggested that the government could consider offering tax breaks to encourage local enterprises to sponsor or operate professional baseball teams.

His comment came after rumors were spread that the La New Bears, which won this year's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) championship, will be sold off because of financial difficulties.

Asked about the ministry's preparations, Ho said it requires careful study and that the ministry would respect any proposals submitted by the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the top government organization in charge of sports.

"Baseball has a positive effect on our society and now would be the right time to offer some encouragement," Ho said.

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