Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Luxury tax to proceed as scheduled, Sean Chen says

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Officials said yesterday a planned luxury tax would be implemented as scheduled, refuting local media speculation of a possible postponement after the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Japan a week ago.

Vice Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said the draft tax bill had been submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review and is likely to take effect on July 1 as scheduled.

Deputy Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said the government’s determination to impose the tax had never changed, as the levy is aimed at stopping property speculators from driving up housing prices.

Speculation had risen on whether the proposed luxury tax on select goods and services would be put on hold in view of the potential impact the crisis in Japan on Taiwan’s economy.

“The levy has nothing to do with Japan’s quake and nuclear disaster and we hope it will start by this July as scheduled,” Chang told a media briefing.

He said the legislature’s Finance Committee would receive the draft bill on Tuesday at the earliest, allowing the committee to begin screening the bill by the end of this month, he added.

Chen also said the legislation would be pushed forward because the items listed in the draft bill had nothing to do with the products disrupted by Japan’s natural disaster.

“It is very clear that they are totally unrelated,” Chen said after a high-level meeting on the crisis in Japan chaired by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

He said the last article of the draft bill authorizes the Executive Yuan to decide the date of the bill’s implementation and that the bill would be put into effect on July 1, pending legislative approval.

According to the draft bill, anybody who sells a real-estate unit within two years after buying it would have to pay a 10 to 15 percent tax on the unit’s sale price.

The move is intended to deter speculative property investments, which have been blamed for skyrocketing housing prices in the greater Taipei area that have priced average income earners out of the housing market.

The tax will also apply to sales of automobiles, aircraft and yachts priced at more than NT$3 million (US$102,000). In addition, fur products and club memberships valued at more than NT$500,000 will also be taxed.

The Ministry of Finance estimates the move will add NT$15 billion a year to state coffers.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top