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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Proposed tax scrapping for military personnel fails in legislature

ROC Central News Agency

2010/01/06 18:15:52

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) A draft amendment to scrap taxes for military personnel and teachers at elementary and junior high schools from this year failed to get approval from a legislative committee Wednesday.

The Finance Committee said related government agencies have not come up with complementary measures and decided to leave the issue until the next session, which is expected to open in February.

The Executive Yuan recently passed the draft amendment to the income tax law under which tax-free treatment for military personnel and school teachers will be scrapped. The Cabinet had hoped that the new measure would be put into effect Jan. 1 after clearing the legislature.

Explaining the reasons for the amendment, the Ministry of Finance said that with the new measure, 360,000 military personnel and school teachers will be affected, providing combined tax revenues of around NT$15.95 billion per year.

Finance Minister Lee Sush-der said in the committee meeting earlier that day that tax-free treatment for military personnel and elementary and junior high school teachers has been in place for several decades.

"But with the changing times, the public now feels that the practice contravenes the principles of tax fairness," he said.

Lee said that "reimposing taxes on military personnel and school teachers is sure to take place, but there should be complementary measures for those affected, such as salary adjustments." Legislator Lu Shiow-yen of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said some military personnel and school teachers have expressed willingness to accept being taxed, but feel there should be fair complementary measures.

She noted that the Ministry of National Defense explained in a position paper that "the amount being taxed will be subsidized, " but the Ministry of Education said that "the tax collected will be used to subsidize elementary education, " which she said is not fair to those in the education sector.

KMT Legislator Alex Hrong-tai Fai said military personnel are often stationed in places other than their hometowns and that middle-ranking military officers have difficulty finding jobs after retirement, so that most of them end up serving as building janitors or taxi drivers.

Moreover, the duty of the country's military is to protect national security, and they face a higher risk to life than other civil servants or teachers.

"The government should treat payment of military personnel differently from payment for civil servants and teachers," Fai said.

(By Chou Yung-chieh and Lilian Wu) ENDITEM/J

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