Online tax filing grows in popularity

A MILLION-PLUS: One-fifth of the nation's taxpayers took advantage of the 24-hour online system to file their income tax reports before Monday's deadline

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 11

The number of taxpayers using the online tax-filing system has grown 36 percent this year from a year earlier. A total of 1.02 million people took advantage of the 24-hour online system before the May 31 deadline.

Compared to this year's 20 percent of all taxpayers, 15 percent, or approximately 750,000, of the nation's 5 million taxpayers used the online system for paying their taxes last year.

The Ministry of Finance hopes to see 1.2 million people, or 24 percent of taxpayers, using the system next year, Tax Administration official Tsai Bi-chen (蔡碧珍) said yesterday.

Central Taiwan saw the most online taxpayers with a total of 335,992 people, or 30 percent of the region's 1.13 million taxpayers, using the online system to file taxes.

This compares to 240,630 people, or 14 percent, in northern Taiwan and 246,985 people, or 31 percent, in southern Taiwan.

The nation's two biggest cities, however, did not see a big jump in online taxpayers, with a total of 135,994 online taxpayers in Taipei and 62,021 in Kaohsiung.

According to the tax offices, a total of 4.85 million, or approximately 97 percent of the total, filed their taxes before the deadline on Monday.

The figure did not include those whose tax reports were mailed before the deadline and haven't arrived at the tax offices. Reports mailed before the deadline face no penalties.

Meanwhile, according to National Tax Administration office in Taipei, some 7,713 of the nation's estimated 8,200 expatriate taxpayers who were supposed to file their taxes in May had completed the dreaded chore before Monday, leaving less than 500 overdue tax accounts.

For those who failed to meet the deadline, a fine of 1 percent every two days will be imposed on their overdue balance within the next 30 days; the percentage rises after 30 days to include interest payments.

That means taxpayers still have one last day today to file taxes without having to pay the overdue fines since fines will actually be imposed two days after the May 31 deadline.

A tax official in Taipei yesterday warned that even small interest payment fines would still be imposed on overdue tax accounts.