Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) on Sunday proposed lifting an amusement tax levied on golf green fees to encourage the development of more world-class golfers.
Lin proposed amending Articles 2 and 5 of the Amusement Tax Act (娛樂稅法), which stipulates that a tax of up to 20 percent must be charged on green fees at golf courses around the country.
He said the government stopped collecting the amusement tax on admission to pool halls and bowling alleys in 2007, but the tax remains for admission to golf courses.
However, the law still stipulates that pool halls and bowling alleys must be levied taxes of up to 50 percent and 30 percent respectively.
Lin said that the tax contributes an average of between NT$100 million (US$3.39 million) and NT$200 million a year to national coffers.
Lin said people used to think of golf as a sport for the wealthy, but today many see it as a common recreational sport.
With the rise of world No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) and the inclusion of golf at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, the government should lift the tax on golf to help develop more golfers, he said.
The proposal has received some support across party lines. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-jen (吳育仁) said the removal of the tax would help erase the impression that golf is a sport for the elite.
DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) said many schools now have golf clubs and offer courses in golf, a sign that the sport has gradually become something anybody can play.
KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that since golf club memberships have been included among the items subject to the luxury tax, Lin’s proposal could be further discussed as a complementary policy.
However, Lai did not sign a letter supporting the elimination of the tax on green fees.
A luxury tax is levied on sales of golf club memberships of more than NT$500,000, according to the Ministry of Finance.