Photographer Chiu Hsing-lung (邱興龍) has been barred from traveling around the nation with his son, Chiu Hsin-ta (邱新達), following the imposition of an anti-luxury constraint by tax authorities on Wednesday.
The legal move — designed to ensure that tax evaders do not spend excessive amounts of cash — was slapped on Chiu Hsing-lung after he ran up a NT$12.1 million (US$403,300) tax evasion bill.
The interdiction notice was handed down after Chiu Hsin-ta won a six-month job during an event jointly sponsored by 1111 Job Bank and East BNB. The prize pays NT$1.5 million for Chiu Hsin-ta to travel around the island visiting 100 boarding houses, out of the 200 which were hand-picked by East BNB, for free in exchange for posting photos or essays onto his blog.
East BNB plans to collate the notes and photos at the end of the six-month period and publish it as a book.
Chiu Hsin-ta said when he claimed the prize that he would blog about his travels while his father, a photographer by profession, would be supplying the photos. However, it now seems that he will not be going with his father after all.
The tax agency in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) had been keeping a close eye on Chiu Hsing-lung and after reading of his son’s prize scoop, it recommended that Chiu Hsing-lung should be placed on an anti-luxury notice.
The anti-luxury constraint was introduced as part of the amendment to the Administrative Enforcement Act (行政執行法) after former Pacific Electric Wire and Cable Co chairman Jack Sun (孫道存), who owes NT$300 million in unpaid taxes, was seen shopping for luxury items with his wife last year.
The amendment states that anyone owing taxes in excess of NT$100 million and who continues to live beyond normal means can be barred from purchasing luxury goods and services.
While Chiu Hsing-lung evaded paying income tax for three consecutive years, he enrolled Chiu Hsin-ta in an expensive private high school and the equipment he bought for his “time lapse” photography was expensive, the agency branch said.
Despite incurring these expenses, Chiu Hsing-lung refused to pay his tax, the agency said, adding that he had nothing left under his name to confiscate.
With the notice in effect from Wednesday, Chiu Hsing-lung would be forbidden from entering boarding houses, hotels, clubs, motels, bars, dance clubs, KTVs and other high-expenditure locations.
He would also be barred from traveling in taxis, trains or airplanes and from renting a car, the agency said, adding Chiu Hsing-lung’s monthly expenses could not exceed NT$24,000.
The photographer also cannot spend money by gifting or loaning more than NT$2,000 to anyone and cannot invest in stocks, funds or futures, the agency said.
As the luxury interdiction notice is one that forbids both acts and expenses, Chiu Hsing-lung would also be forbidden from setting foot in a boarding house, even if he did not spend any money there and he had been invited to stay.
The luxury interdiction notice is to remain in place for six months and if Chiu Hsing-lung still does not pay his taxes after half a year, the notice may be extended, the agency said, adding that should it be proved that Chiu Hsing-lung broke any of the rules, he would face a prison term.
Meanwhile, the agency added that the tax recovery effort was only in force against Chiu Hsing-lung and as long as Chiu Hsin-ta does not gift the NT$1.5 million prize paycheck to his father, the agency cannot and will not ask for the son to pay his father’s debts, it said.