Wed, May 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

House tax and privacy acts clear legislature

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Amid the government’s pledge to curb real-estate speculation, amendments to the House Tax Act (房屋稅條例) cleared the legislature yesterday to raise taxes on non-self-used residential houses, while the Financial Holding Company Act (金融控股公司法) was revised to strengthen the protection of personal information.

The amended House Tax Act raises taxes on properties used as residences, but not by the owner, from its lower limit of 1.2 percent of its value to 1.5 percent, and from its upper limit of 2 percent to 3.6 percent.

It also raises taxes on properties used for business purposes or as private hospitals or clinics, a professional office or the premises of a non-profit civic organization.

The amended Financial Holding Company Act stipulates the application of the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法).

“Except for the name and address of customers, the subsidiaries of the financial holding company shall abide by the Personal Information Protection Act with regard to collecting, handling and using the customer’s personal data, transaction records and other relevant information with other subsidiaries, and shall not gather or use the customer data for purposes other than the designated use,” according to the revised version of the law.

The legislators proposing the amendment said that the change was made in accordance with the principle of having customers “opt in,” rather than one that requires them to “opt out.”

Other amendments that passed their third reading yesterday include those to the Act for Worker Protection of Mass Redundancy (大量解僱勞工保護法) and to the Collective Agreement Act (團體協約法).

The former tightened the act to protect workers who have been subject to layoffs by a business entity having more than 500 workers and laying off one-fifth of its employees in 60 days or 80 workers in one day (with the existing regulation only covering the former). The act now also applies to those businesses, regardless of the number of employers, that have laid off 200 workers in 60 days or 100 workers in a day.

The amended Collective Agreement Act says that if any party negotiating a collective agreement fails to respond within 60 days and its silence is recognized as a refusal to negotiate, the matter can be directly handed to a competent authority for mediation or arbitration, if no other relevant agreements between the two parties are already present.

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