Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Committee wants names of huge tax debtors publicized

By Ted Yang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature’s Finance Committee yesterday passed a resolution calling on tax authorities to publicize an annual list of individuals and businesses who owe more than NT$100 million (US$3.14 million) and NT$500 million in taxes respectively.

The ministry will unveil a list of taxpayers with unpaid tax dues in excess of NT$300 million within one month, Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) told lawmakers during a question-and-answer session yesterday.

“In the past five years, the amount of unpaid taxes in the nation topped NT$300 billion, which means that nearly NT$60 billion was not collected each year,” Lee said, adding that the proportion of unpaid taxes to total tax revenue was small.

The move came after former Pacific Electric Wire & Cable Co chairman Jack Sun (孫道存) cleared his tax debts of nearly NT$300 million on Tuesday under prolonged media and social pressure, which invited discussion on the legislative floor yesterday.

“The Sun case showed that those who owe taxes can actually afford to pay them, but they are just not willing to do so. As long as the government enhances measures to go after unpaid taxes, they will give in,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said.

Citing tallies from the ministry, Lo said the nation recorded a total of NT313.8 billion in unpaid taxes as of last year — NT$280.9 billion in national taxes and NT$32.9 billion in local taxes — which accounted for 4.14 percent of total taxes collected.

The ministry asked tax offices — in 2002 — to publicize a list of individuals who owed taxes of more than NT$10 million and businesses with unpaid tax dues exceeding NT$100 million, Lo said, but the ministry never repeated the request.

Lee also responded to a question by KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) as to whether the nation would follow the US lead in imposing direct taxes on banks, which prompted the UK to endorse a similar measure ahead of the G20 meeting next month.

Lee said that given the nation’s current economic development, the government does not need to introduce levies on banks, similar to those being adopted by the authorities in the US to help pay for future bailouts.

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