Shortfall in total tax revenue could be double government’s earlier estimate

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 - Page 1

The shortfall in tax revenue this year could be almost double the government’s original estimate — up to NT$20 billion (US$686.77 million) — compared with Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford’s (張盛和) forecast of NT$10 billion.

The latest data showed tax revenue declined again last month from a year earlier, falling 3.7 percent to NT$162.8 billion last month, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday in its monthly report.

In the first 11 months of the year, total tax revenue amounted to NT$1.693 trillion, up 2.3 percent from a year ago and the highest level ever recorded for the same period, the report said.

“The decline in tax revenue last month confirmed that there will be a shortfall in full-year tax revenue,” Hsu Ray-lin (許瑞琳), deputy director of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference in Taipei.

The government set its full-year tax revenue target at NT$1.823 trillion. Tax revenue would have to reach more than NT$130 billion this month to meet that target, which is higher than the average level of tax revenue recorded in December over the past few years.

If tax revenue this month remains flat from a year earlier at NT$109.6 billion, full-year tax revenue could fall short by NT$20 billion.

Lower-than-expected economic growth this year has made it difficult to reach the target set by the ministry in the second half of last year when the government forecast the nation’s economy would grow more than 4 percent this year, Hsu said.

Hsu said tax revenue this year was “barely satisfactory,” since the 2.3 percent growth in revenue was still higher than the GDP growth of 1.13 percent for the year the government forecast last month.

The sharp decline in revenue from the securities transaction tax has been the key factor in the decline of total tax revenue, posting a decrease of 26.2 percent to NT$65.2 billion in the first 11 months from a year earlier, the report’s data showed.

Hsu said full-year revenue from the securities transaction tax may reach more than NT$70 billion this year, which would translate to a shortfall of about NT$55 billion.

That could fully offset the combined contribution from consolidated income tax and business income tax, which may surpass NT$55 billion this year, Hsu added.

Compared with last year, the composite income tax revenue increased by NT$51.1 billion in the 11-month period, while that of estate tax grew by NT$4.2 billion, the figures showed.

Additional reporting by CNA