Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Pan-purples show anger over `unfair' tax system

ANGER A leader of the social welfare group says the current tax system is not fair to the poor and salaried workers and says he will withhold his payments

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

A man holding his daughter shouts ``The tax system is unfair'' into a microphone during an activity organized by the Alliance of Fairness and Justice outside a department store close to the Taipei Railway Station yesterday. The activity protested what the alliance sees as the unfairness of Taiwan's tax system.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Chien Hsi-chieh, pan-purple alliance representative and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker, said yesterday that he would refuse to pay his taxes this year to protest the current system of taxation.

"I personally will not be paying my taxes this year to serve as an example," said Chien, speaking at an alliance rally in front of Taipei Railway Station's Asiaworld Department Store yesterday morning.

Chien, who is also the executive director of the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan, emphasized, however, that the alliance is not encouraging citizens to stop paying their taxes.

"There's heavy fines and consequences for people if they don't pay their taxes, so it would be unfair of us to ask them to do so. I'm going to not pay this year to start out and find out what will happen," he said.

With only a week left before national tax day, the alliance held the rally to advertise its demands and encourage onlookers to air their concerns about the tax system.

The alliance, also known as the Alliance of Fairness and Justice, has been a long time proponent of national tax reform. Among its demands are those that the Legislative Yuan stop discussion on a bill to permanently decrease the amount of inheritance tax and incremental land tax by half, and that there be an end to the current situation where former army personnel and teachers do not need to pay taxes.

Chien and the alliance are asking for the public to place alliance-produced stickers on their tax forms or to draw expressions of anger or write complaints in the margins of their tax forms to protest the current tax system.

The alliance was also handing out tax reform books to onlookers at the rally. The booklet details the alliance's complaints against the tax system and calls for reform.

Alliance representatives said that as their next step, they would be paying a visit to the minister of finance at the end of the month about their concerns.

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