Wed, Jan 07, 2015 - Page 1 News List

‘Villain No. 1’ crowned as year’s top finance minster

‘A BETTER UNDERSTANDING’:Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford said that he was glad that an international publication was able to acknowledge events in Taiwan

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford holds up a copy of The Banker magazine, which named him Finance Minister of the Year, in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chiu Po-sheng, Taipei Times

The Banker, an English-language monthly owned by The Financial Times Ltd, has crowned Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) the best finance minister of the year for pushing tough tax reforms in the name of wealth redistribution.

Chang is the first minister from Taiwan to win the award, which recognized his policies intended to address worsening income disparity and housing unaffordability.

The London-edited magazine named the best finance minister this month based on the recommendations of its review committee and the opinions of various bankers and economists.

The honor was a stark contrast with the “No. 1 villain” title for Chang in a recent online poll.

Chang overtook President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for the dubious honor last year in an annual ranking by Internet celebrity Lucifer Chu (朱學恒), which was unveiled last week.

Chang expressed pleasure yesterday afternoon at The Banker’s recognition and reiterated plans to introduce separate income taxes on property gains.

“I am glad to help an international publication gain a better understanding of Taiwan,” Chang said.

The minister reiterated plans to introduce separate income taxes, ranging between 5 and 45 percent, on property gains in excess of certain amounts, from next year.

The planned tax might hurt the housing market more seriously than the special sales levy of up to 15 percent on houses resold within two years of purchase, property analysts have said.

The minister has come under criticism from stock investors recently for refusing to raise the taxable threshold for active traders, although he agreed last month to a three-year moratorium.

The compromise earned Chang the enmity of fair tax reformers, who said the ministry had failed to tax active traders.

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