Wed, Mar 30, 2005 - Page 2 News List

KMT pushes for an end to tax law's `marriage penalty'

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) legislative caucus yesterday called on the government to amend the tax law to eliminate the so-called "marriage penalty" by increasing the standard deduction granted to married couples.

"The provisions discourage people from getting married," KMT legislator Alex Fei (費鴻泰) said yesterday. "They indirectly hinder the government's efforts to boost the nation's birth rate."

Fei said the KMT caucus hopes the government can amend the tax law before next month.

According to Article 17 of the income tax law in Taiwan, the standard deduction is NT$44,000 for a single taxpayer but only NT$67,000 for a married couple.

The caucus called on the government to increase the standard deduction for married couples to double that of a single taxpayer, or NT$88,000.

Fei said that the current provisions were made under the assumption that married couples earn more combined income and spend less overall than two single taxpayers.

The US, whose income tax law used to have a similar provision, amended its law in 2003 to make the standard deduction for married couples double that of single taxpayers.

The current tax law, some claim, could indirectly lower the nation's birth rate by discouraging couples from getting married and having children.

According to statistics from the Council for Economic Planning and Development, the total fertility rate dropped to 1.2 children per woman in 2003.

"The government should establish policies to encourage people to get married and have more children," KMT caucus whip Chen Chieh (陳杰) said.

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