Tourism companies get tax break

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Tourism companies get tax break

Korea’s tax collection agency will give a nine-month filing extension for local tourism-related companies, which say they have been hit hard by the Chinese government’s recent ban on group tourism to Korea that many believe is retaliation over deployment of a controversial U.S. missile shield here.

Travel agencies, lodging operators, duty-free stores, tour bus operators and retailers catering to tourists will be allowed to delay paying corporate taxes, value-added taxes and income taxes nine months from their initial due date, the National Tax Service said Thursday.

“Companies affected by the fall in foreign tourists will be able to receive tax benefits if they file applications through regional offices across the country and on our website,” said Lee Hyun-kyu, a director at the National Tax Service.

The government will also postpone routine seizure of property and other assets from tourism-related companies that have failed to pay their taxes for up to a year.

The National Tax Service will also exempt small tourism businesses with overdue taxes from putting down security for their late payments if the amount owed is lower than 100 million won ($89,000) and they have been good taxpayers.

“We will pay back tax refunds, if there are any, as early as possible to business owners that are hit by the weakened tourism industry,” Lee said. “We will also consider giving similar tax benefits to industries other than tourism such as export companies that have been negatively impacted by a fall in exports.”

The decision by the National Tax Service on Thursday is not unprecedented. The agency has given similar extensions to business owners affected by various factors like natural disasters and corporate restructuring.

The Chinese government banned travel agencies from selling group tours to Korea on March 15.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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