Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said yesterday that implementing a capital gains tax on securities transactions would be his priority after taking office.
Chang said he hopes a consensus draft proposal could be passed by the legislature by the end of this legislative session.
Chang faces a daunting task, which saw his predecessor, Christina Liu (劉憶如), tender her resignation on Tuesday because of a major disagreement with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers over the controversial tax plan.
“Striding out, the first step is the most important thing,” Chang said by telephone, after the Executive Yuan announced he would be appointed as finance minister.
Since tax reform is always very difficult, it is important to launch a tax system as early as possible since it would be the first step of the reform, and then improve the system gradually to make it more complete, Chang said.
“If the public does not respect the importance of the first small steps, no finance minister will be brave enough to carry out the reforms,” he said.
Chang said he would oversee a version of the tax proposal that has the highest consensus, because no version would be perfect.
Chang said he expects a finalized version agreed to by the Cabinet and the KMT caucus to be passed in this legislative session as a “first step.”
The legislative sesssion is scheduled to end on June 15.
“I am glad to have a chance to return to the Ministry of Finance, but I also feel cautious about this heavy responsibility,” Chang said.
Chang applauded Liu’s contributions to reform of the tax system, saying “reform would not have got this far without her efforts.”
However, Chang did not confirm whether he would lead a task force on taxation and finance, saying he would have to get to know more about it.
Chang served in the ministry for more than 30 years, with his previous positions including Taipei National Tax Administration director and Tax Agency director, as well as deputy minister of finance.
In February, he retired as deputy minister along with then-minister of finance Lee Sush-der (李述德).
Most of the staff were glad that Chang would return to lead the ministry, because they had worked with him for a long time and are familiar with his management style, a Tax Agency official said yesterday.
Another ministry official, who asked not to be named, said she believed Chang could lead the tax reform more smoothly than Liu because of his congenial manner.