The National Women’s League (NWL) collected billions of New Taiwan dollars in military taxes and surcharges from 1955 to 1989, with the sum estimated to be worth nearly NT$350 billion (US$11.5 billion at the current exchange rate) in today’s terms, the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee said yesterday.
A major recipient of the so-called military taxes and surcharges — eight different types of taxes, electricity bills and import duties — the league collected an estimated NT$24.03 billion during that period, which, factoring in inflation and interest, would be equivalent to NT$349.81 billion today, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.
The estimates were based on financial records kept by the Friends of Armed Forces Association, another recipient of the military taxes and surcharges that shared the tax revenue with the league.
According to association data, the league was entitled to two-thirds of the tax revenue — excluding the amounts given to the General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese National Federation of Industries, and importer and exporter organizations at local levels — while the association received the remaining third.
From 1955 to 1989 when the taxes and surcharges were levied, estimated tax revenue totaled NT$95.62 billion, which would be equivalent to NT$1.39 trillion today.
Shih said the tax revenue is an estimated value because the military taxes and surcharges were special duties collected by banks and business organizations, and never went into state coffers.
“Although the league has only provided partial records without detailed financial reports, data kept by the association are fairly complete, so the estimate should be reasonably accurate,” she said.
The league said it had used the money to organize entertainment events and build housing for military personnel and their dependents.
The committee is seeking to verify the league’s claim and how much was spent on housing.
It is to hold a hearing on Thursday next week as part of its investigation into the links between the league and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
The KMT decided how the tax revenue should be shared between the league and the association, and the party was responsible for including the league’s funding in government budgets.
“The league received all its government subsidies via the KMT. A property on Linsen S Road [in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District (中正)] was first acquired by the KMT and then donated to the league,” Shih said.
“The [financial] links between the league and the KMT should be convincing evidence to prove their affiliation,” Shih said.
The league has NT$38 billion in assets, mostly in cash, and relies on interest and stock dividends for income, she added.
Should the league be determined to be a KMT affiliate and operated using ill-gotten party assets, the league would be asked to return its assets to the state.