NTS collects W400 bil. in unpaid taxes
By Kim Jae-won
The tax agency collected 393.8 billion won of unpaid taxes for the last two months by finding hidden assets of 557 taxpayers, including 10 former majority stakeholders of big conglomerates, the National Tax Service (NTS) said Tuesday.
The NTS launched a special team in late February to crack down on taxpayers who refuse to pay taxes via concealing their assets under borrowed names or other illegal schemes.
Among the total, the tax authorities collected 251.4 billion won of cash and real estates worth 142.4 billion won. The task force titled the “Hidden Assets Tracing Team” consists of 17 ad-hoc subgroups, whose overall number reached 192.
Experts say it is part of the tax authorities’ efforts to increase revenue to help the government, which struggles to keep fiscal soundness amid lingering global economic uncertainties, such as eurozone debt crisis and the stagnant U.S. economy.
“We seek to establish a fair taxation principle with the investigation. All taxpayers should be treated equally by law,” said Yang Byeong-su, a director of the NTS.
The tax authorities said that it collected 80.7 billion won of equities from a former major stakeholder of a big company who held back his assets of unregistered real estate. The NTS declined to identify the stakeholder due to a law which prohibits it from disclosing taxpayers’ private information.
Another businessman concealed equities worth 100 billion won through a foreign paper company which he owned. The NTS collected 16.3 billion won of unpaid taxes by holding the equity.
A chairman of a private school laundered a few billions won of his assets through certificates of deposits and let his son buy real estate with the fund. The NTS took 1.6 billion won of unpaid taxes and reported him to the prosecutors’ office.
The NTS targeted businesspeople who did not pay appropriate taxes though they live in posh houses and enjoy overseas tours often. The agency also looked into big asset owners who transferred their wealth to their offspring but did not pay gift or inheritance taxes. People who sent their assets offshore also have come under probes.
The authorities said that it will enlarge the investigation down the road by reaching its arms to overseas properties or funds. It also vowed to show no mercy to anybody who neglects their duties without regard to their status or roles.