Sun, Jun 27, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Finance minister pleads for tax reform

CNA , TAIPEI

Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) said yesterday that a national consensus must be forged before any tax-reform program can be implemented.

Lin made the remarks while delivering a lecture at the Ketagalan Institute, a school founded by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to nurture a new generation of leaders in public service.

Lin said the tax system does not comply with world trends, as many major economies levy income taxes on their nationals regardless of the country in which they work, while Taiwan does not levy taxes on its citizens who work abroad.

"It's unfair," Lin told the students at the institute. He added that tax reforms cannot succeed before a national consensus is forged and that all tax reform programs should be carried out in phases.

Lin also stressed the importance of crafting a fair tax system.

"Fairness is the most important [thing] as far as tax reforms are concerned," he said, adding that tax hikes would definitely draw a backlash unless the existing tax system was made fairer.

Lin said the government's financial problems mainly lie in the national debt. The figure has jumped from NT$608.4 billion in 1990 to NT$2.2 trillion in 2000 when the Democratic Progressive Party first came to power.

Debt has since ballooned to NT$3.9 trillion, Lin said.

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