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Religious groups big on the NTS evaders list

Nov 29,2019
Religious organizations featured big on the National Tax Service’s (NTS) latest name-and-shame list of cheats.

Of the 120 violators reported by the NTS Wednesday, the majority were churches or temples. Most of those were found to have committed violations related to receipts for donations. In one case, a religious organization issued a receipt to a person who was not even a member.

The NTS also found that three medical corporations and one cultural organization issued false receipts.

Of the 65 filers that committed receipt violations, 47 were found to have created five or more false receipts or receipts for a total exceeding 50 million won ($42,000). Another 14 were found to have failed to record or store the donation receipts, and four were fined 10 million won or more for violating the inheritance and gift tax.

Yongbongam, a Buddhist temple in Yeongju, North Gyeongsang, topped the list on false donation receipts in terms of value. It issued 571 false receipts totaling 1.4 billion won. This is not the first time the Buddhist temple has been on the list. It was reported in 2017 for issuing 409 false donation receipts totaling 292 million won.

The Neungin Temple located in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang, ranked second in issuing 246 receipts worth 256 million won, while the Haein Temple located in Gwangju issued 181 receipts worth 289 million won.

“It’s easy to inflate donation receipts at religious organizations as donations are usually made in cash,” said an NTS official. “We will send out notifications to prevent such acts from happening again.”

Dongtan Jeil Women’s Hospital in Gyeonggi was fined 20 million won for violations related to inheritance and gift tax. Shinwon Medical Foundation in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi, was fined 15 million won for the same reason.

The NTS also disclosed the names of 54 evaders that received court rulings on tax matters as of June. The list included those running illegal betting operations as well as second-hand car and mobile phone dealers.

Taxes each person dodged averaged 1.9 billion won, and they were fined on average 1.3 billion won. Of the 54, 23 percent were sentenced to prison, for 1 year and 11 months on average. Fines of at least 1 billion won were levied against 44 percent.

A 61-year-old was found to have committed tax evasion by opening an offshore bank account under another person’s name. The account balance was 7.9 billion won.

The tax agency has been disclosing the name of tax dodgers every year since 2014. The NTS said as of this year it has disclosed the names of 364 organizations that issued false donation receipts or failed to keep related data, 178 tax dodgers and seven that did not report their offshore financial accounts.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]


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