[EDITORIALS]The need for precise taxingThe number of claims lodged by taxpayers to the National Tax Tribunal have increased greatly lately. People complain there are mistakes in tax billing. And one-third of the claims handled by the tribunal are judged to be “mistakes” by the tax authorities. The amount of excess tax imposed in the past five years amounts to nearly 2 trillion won ($1.95 billion) in 5,926 cases.
Whether it’s an individual or a business, one is startled to unexpectedly receive a big tax bill. Some people who have expertise in tax affairs may think of lodging a complaint, but most people give up the idea because they do not know the procedure or because it is too complicated.
Not all people complain to the tax tribunal. Normally, people request the local tax office to correct the error, and if it isn’t successful, bring their cases to the tribunal, the National Tax Service or the Board of Audit and Inspection. If the amounts handled by them are counted, the damage is more serious.
It is not easy to prove the incorrectness of tax levied by authorities. Collecting papers necessary for lodging complaints and calculating correct taxable amounts are so difficult a process that ordinary people can’t help but give up in the middle of the fight. In the case of businesses, this is a huge waste of time, manpower and expense and even imposes a psychological burden on the management.
Of course, changes in taxpayer awareness and a simplified application procedure could be the reasons for an increase in the number of complaints. Still, the complaints raised last year alone number 4,746 cases. Because the amount levied in excess reached almost 300 billion won, it means authorities imposed too much tax. In other words, they imposed heavy tax for the sake of expediency. The administrative expediency of bureaucrats is not limited to tax authorities. The Fair Trade Commission has lost 55 lawsuits out of 100 lodged by businesses against penalties it imposed on them.
Each of the taxes or penalties imposed unreasonably causes inconveniences to people’s lives and hampers business activities and the national economy. By developing a scientific and precise tax-levying technique, the government will stop inconveniencing taxpayers. Uncertainties in assessment should be approached from the taxpayers’ position. That will make people comfortable and help revive the economy.