Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Assistance for single parents in need expanded

TAX BREAKS Lawmakers also voted in favor of cutting the inheritance and gift tax from 50 percent to 10 percent and raising the deductible to NT$12 million

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Legislative Yuan yesterday approved an amendment to the Act on Assisting Women and Families in Dire Conditions (特殊境遇婦女家庭扶助條例) that gives single fathers subsidies that were once only granted to women in need.

Lawmakers agreed to change the title of the bill to the Act on Assisting Families in Dire Condition (特殊境遇家庭扶助條例), allowing a single parent under the age of 65; victims of domestic violence; pregnant, unmarried women; or anyone raising a minor alone to apply for educational and medical stipends for their children or grandchildren.

Children from such families only have to cover 40 percent of their high school or college tuition, the act says.

Local governments should send personnel to inspect the living conditions of the families that apply for the subsidies and should stop the stipend if their living standard improves, the act states.

Legislators also agreed that the Executive Yuan should implement the new measures within three months after the act takes effect.

After the amendment cleared the legislative floor, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英), one of the advocates of the bill, described the amendment as “pragmatic and advanced.”

“Along with the social changes in recent years, we have seen more and more single fathers who are in need,” she said.

DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) said with the amendment, the government should take the initiative in assisting families who are experiencing economic difficulties.

In related developments, legislators also approved an amendment to the Labor Insurance Regulations (勞工保險條例), allowing women to apply for subsidies if they give birth within one year of leaving their jobs.

In other developments, the pan-blue-dominated legislature voted in favor of lowering the inheritance tax and gift tax to 10 percent from the previous 50 percent.

The legislature approved an amendment to the Estate and Gift Tax Act (遺產及贈與稅法) proposed by the Executive Yuan, raising the deductible amount in the inheritance tax from NT$7 million (US$210,600) to NT$12 million.

Legislators also passed an amendment to the Act for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases (動物傳染病防治條例), authorizing inspectors at ports or airports to examine animals, animal products and product packages suspected of carrying infectious diseases even if the owners of the animals, products or packages refused to be examined.

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