Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Committee fails to reach consensus on inheritance tax

REFORM Opponents of the tax reduction said the government proposal clearly favors the rich minority and ignored the needs of the majority

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Tax Reform Committee remained divided yesterday on the proposed cut to the inheritance tax after the government hinted at capping the rate at 10 percent and fair tax activists said the idea was unacceptable.

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) said after the meeting that the committee failed to reach a consensus on the planned tax cut, which is touted as a key measure in the government’s efforts to lure foreign capital and turn the country into a regional financial center.

The committee had hoped to wrap up the discussion and submit its conclusion to the Cabinet this week.

Chien Hsi-chieh, an advocate for a fair taxation system, said he would urge the public to boycott the tax if the government persists in lowering the inheritance levy without taxing capital gains and incomes earned overseas.

“The proposed cut is intended to benefit the minority 5 percent rich people,” Chien said.

“There is no evidence showing Taiwanese businesspeople overseas will wire their capital home if the inheritance levy is lowered to 10 percent,” he said.

Chien demanded before the meeting started that the forum be open to the media, a suggestion that was voted down by the panel. He said the government might as well dissolve the committee if it intended to lower the tax ceiling from the current 50 percent to 10 percent.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) also voiced his discontent, saying the reform committee was a pro-business panel in disguise.

“All the reform proposals are designed to lower the tax burden for wealthy people,” Gao said. “It utterly ignores the needs of the majority of taxpayers.”

Lee sought to downplay the protest by saying he welcomed and respected different opinions.

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