The legislature’s Finance Committee is holding its first official public hearing this morning on the impact of the government’s plan to impose a capital gains tax on securities transactions, before the committee’s formal review of various tax proposals next month.
Involved government officials, including Minister of Finance Christina Liu (劉憶如), Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Chen Yuh-chang (陳裕璋) and Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥), as well as representatives from the brokerage industry, industrial and commercial organizations, social groups and tax academics are invited to attend.
“We hope to listen to voices from all sectors before deciding anything,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), the public hearing’s host and the convener of the Finance Committee, told reporters on Friday.
On Thursday, the legislature decided to extend this legislative term to June 15, from its originally scheduled closing date of May 31, to have more time to discuss the planned tax.
Currently, there are at least seven versions of the tax proposals waiting to be reviewed by the committee, an indication that uncertainties remain for the Finance Committee to complete its review during the current session.
Other than a draft bill proposed by the Cabinet, Lo and three other KMT legislators — Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), Alex Tsai (蔡正元), and Tseng Chu-wei (曾巨威) — have their own proposals. The People First Party’s (PFP) caucus also released its version of the tax plan, while the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) legislative caucus is scheduled to announce its proposal today, based on a draft by former finance minister Lin Chuan (林全).
The Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported yesterday that the KMT’s legislative caucus may integrate its lawmakers’ four proposals into one version, which could accelerate the upcoming review by the Finance Committee.
If Liu backs the integrated version and other party caucuses do not ask for negotiations, the proposal is likely to be passed in this legislative session, the report said.
Nevertheless, social groups remained cautious about the Finance Committee’s attitude to the proposals.
The Alliance for Fair Tax Reform (公平稅改聯盟) yesterday announced it would hold a protest outside the legislature this morning to express its discontent that the Finance Committee had allied with business groups.
The alliance said the public hearing listed representatives from the brokerage industry, industrial and commercial organizations as “attendees” at the meeting, but only listed academics and representatives from social groups as “observers.”
“This shows the hearing may only be a platform for the consortiums to make their opinions known,” the alliance said in a release.
The committee’s desire to decide everything without proper consultation of all interested parties will be the reason it ultimately fails to pass the legislature, the alliance added.