Tax evasionOne of the most important duties of a lawmaker is to monitor how a government spends taxpayers’ money. After all, the American Revolutionary War started with the slogan “No taxation without representation.”
The representative system of the modern era was established with the concept that lawmakers represent all tax-paying citizens.
Thus, lawmakers and other representatives of citizens must pay taxes faithfully and regularly.
The registration of candidates running for the 18th general elections ended yesterday. It turned out many didn’t pay taxes at all, or hadn’t paid them regularly or faithfully.
More than 100 candidates haven’t paid any income tax for the past five years. Some 20 percent of registered candidates paid less than an average of 100,000 won ($100) in annual income tax.
They should be ashamed of this, considering that the average income tax per person in 2006 was 3.25 million won.
Nearly 20 percent of candidates paid no income, property or integrated land and real estate tax.
They might claim they hadn’t paid much tax because they hadn’t made much money, didn’t possess assets or owe debts.
When their incomes are much lower than other people’s average incomes, they should ask themselves if they have worked harder in other aspects, and thus deserve the respect of the rest of the country.
Looking closely, one becomes even more agitated. Former student activists have delayed paying taxes more often than others.
Most of these people didn’t serve in the military, either, because they were in jail for their involvement in the democratic movement.
They are now sitting lawmakers and one of them is even the chief executive officer of a company.
Those candidates who delayed tax payment often are or were lawyers, doctors and senior officials.
Candidates running for the National Assembly with criminal records or evaded escaped military duty are rare compared to five or 10 years ago.
But there are still a number of people who delay paying their taxes, as these actions draw less attention.
Voters need to look carefully into the tax records of the candidates in their electoral districts. The candidates who don’t take taxation seriously must not be elected in the upcoming elections.