Revision to tax of married couples passes first hurdle

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 1

The legislature’s Finance Committee yesterday approved a revision to the Income Tax Act (所得稅法) that would allow married couples to file non-salary personal incomes separately, after the Council of Grand Justices earlier declared the ban unconstitutional.

Under the revisions, husband and wife would be able declare non-salary incomes from securities and other investments separately, a practice that would enable them to save on tax.

Presently, married couples can file personal income statements from regular salaries separately for tax purposes, but have to file joint declarations for non-salary incomes. Many have denounced the latter requirement as a punishment on marriage and the council agreed that it violated the principle of fairness, ordering that it be scrapped by January next year.

The revisions, which still need to go through second and third readings in the legislature, could take effect from Jan. 1 next year, the bill says.

Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said the state coffers could lose between NT$15 billion and NT$17 billion (US$510 million and US$580 million) after the new regulations take effect.

“The change is favorable for people with high incomes, as cash dividends account for the bulk of non-salary incomes,” Chang said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) disagreed, saying that not all people with non-salary incomes are rich and that all taxpayers should enjoy equal treatment under tax rules regardless of their level of wealth.