Sat, Feb 18, 2012 - Page 3 News List

No timetable yet on taxation reform, Sean Chen says

Staff Writer, with CNA

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday refused to set a timetable for reform of the tax system, but said his Cabinet’s determination to ensure tax fairness was beyond question

His comment was seen as a response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tseng Chu-wei (曾巨威), who earlier this week said he was looking forward to seeing long-talked-about tax reforms moved off the drawing board and put into effect this year.

“We need to do something about real tax reforms this year, rather than just talk or seek a consensus,” said Tseng, a public finance expert and tax reform activist.

However, Chen said consulting with experts about feasible reform measures should also be considered taking action toward the ultimate goal of improving the tax system.

Conclusions reached by a previous tax reform panel were made before the end of the 2008-2009 global financial tsunami and ahead of the outbreak of the US and eurozone debt crises, Chen said.

“With that in mind, we probably need to convene an expert brainstorming session again to see whether the previous conclusions remain valid or whether the experts have any fresh suggestions to cope with new financial situations at home and abroad,” he said.

Noting that major countries around the world are now carrying out various financial reform projects, Chen said academics and experts might be able to offer new ideas or initiatives for overhauling the nation’s financial and tax systems.

“I believe this could be an effective way to chart an action plan for our reform goal,” Chen said.

Minister of Finance Christina Liu (劉憶如) has met with many financial and taxation specialists to solicit their opinions and would organize a consultative meeting sometime soon, he said.

The Chinese-language China Times yesterday cited Liu as saying the Executive Yuan would form a task force to map out strategies to improve government finances.

The panel would be composed of financial experts, who would review various tax reform initiatives, the paper said, citing Liu.

However, Chen said the Cabinet has not yet made a decision about the formation of such a panel.

“Our present consensus is that the Ministry of Finance should consult with financial experts about tax reforms and public finance overhaul,” Chen said.

If the ministry advises other government agencies on how to make money, the government will face less pressure to raise tax rates, he said.

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