The Ministry of Finance should outline tax categories it truly intends to reform before calling any meetings of experts to discuss packages of feasible measures, a group of tax reform experts said.
“The question is not how to reform, but whether to reform at all,” Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋), convener of the Alliance for Fair Tax Reform and a member of the ministry’s newly established financial soundness planning task force, said at a public hearing on tax reform held on Friday.
The government should clearly define which areas it wishes to overhaul, Wang said, questioning whether the public should be taxed on capital gains, for example, or on land transactions based on actual transaction prices.
Deputy Minister of Finance William Tseng (曾銘宗), who attended the public hearing organized by the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) legislative caucus, said the ministry sincerely hoped the experts in the task force would voice their opinions on relevant topics.
The ministry announced the establishment of the 16-member panel on Thursday, with Minister of Finance Christina Liu (劉憶如) as the convener. The group includes government officials, academics and representatives of a number of civic groups.
Lin Hsiang-kai (林向愷), a National Taiwan University economics professor and committee member, said the government had used a populist approach to address the issue in the past, such as implementing the minimum tax and luxury tax.
The government should carry out broad-based tax reforms this time around, stop the widening income gap and improve the redistribution of wealth, he said.
DPP legislative whip Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was afraid that the new panel had been established merely to endorse the government’s set policies.
Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) announced the results of a poll on proposed tax reforms.
It showed that 56.5 percent of respondents said they felt the current tax system was unfair, while 57.6 percent said they had no confidence in the newly formed reform planning panel.
The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday via telephone, with 1,076 valid samples.
It had a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of 3 percentage points.