Korea names and shames tax deadbeats

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Korea names and shames tax deadbeats

The Ministry of the Interior Monday disclosed a list of 36,433 habitual tax delinquents - 29,848 citizens and 6,585 companies - with unpaid taxes surpassing 10 million won ($8,763) for one year or longer as of Jan. 1 of this year.

Those on the list refused to specify their reasons for failing to pay taxes, although the ministry has asked them to do so for more than six months. According to the ministry, 29,848 individuals accounted for 74.5 percent, or 800.1 billion won, of total unpaid taxes, while 6,585 companies constitute 25.5 percent, or 277.4 billion won.

Also on the list is former president Chun Doo Hwan, who failed to pay taxes worth 536 million won in total.

The ministry has released a list of tax delinquents since 2006. But until last year, only those with unpaid taxes exceeding 30 million won, which were 6,051 in 2014 and 4,023 in 2015, were shamed publicly.

This year the ministry lowered the amount of delinquent taxes needed to get on the list to 10 million and diversified its ways of publicizing the list. “The list of new tax delinquents is uploaded on city and district governments’ websites,“ said an official from the ministry, “and the list of those with more than 50 million won in unpaid taxes is on the ministry’s website as well.” The list includes the name of the deadbeat taxpayer, age, occupation, address, the amount of unpaid taxes and the due date for payment.

By region, Seoul and Gyeonggi Province had the highest number of tax delinquents, 74.1 percent of the total, and the greatest amount of unpaid taxes, 74.1 percent of the total unpaid taxes.

Manufacturing industries accounted for 22.1 percent of corporate delinquents, followed by construction, retail and service industries.

In terms of the amount of unpaid taxes, 94.1 percent of tax delinquents failed to pay less than 5 million won, while 399 individuals and 353 companies failed to pay taxes of 100 million won or more.

BY CHUN IN-SUNG [kim.yuna1@joongang.co.kr]

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