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Premier-designate faces more tax questions

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker yesterday accused the premier-designate of filing a false return to reduce his land value tax.

Premier-designate Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) told his local land administration that his Zhongzheng property was a purchase when it had really been a gift, said opposition party lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), citing a report that Wealth Magazine released this Wednesday.

While Jiang has provided proof that his father paid the gift tax owed, he has been unable to clarify why the apartment was filed as a purchase in the first place, said Chen at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Chen claimed that Jiang's reason was to ensure a lower Land Value Increment Tax (土地增值稅).

Gifted property is subject to a 60-percent tax rate. By filing the property as a purchase, Jiang made himself eligible for a preferential 10-percent rate for owner-occupied residential land (自用住宅優惠稅率), according to Chen.

“The difference in tax incurred is millions,” said Chen.

On Wednesday, Wealth Magazine had claimed that Jiang filed a false return to his local land administration to avoid the gift tax. On a return dated 2000, Jiang reported a piece of property as a purchase, when it had been a gift from his father, according to the magazine.

Later Wednesday, Jiang released a receipt to show that his father, who had legal responsibility for the gift tax, paid NT$292,142 between March 26 and May 25, 2000.

Jiang did not address the allegation that he filed a false return to the land administration office.

Jiang's Response

Later at the Executive Yuan, Jiang rejected charges of wrongdoing, but again did not address the land administration report head-on.

“Yesterday I provided the receipt for gift taxes paid, to let the people know that we had done everything according to the law. We will ask the magazine to correct the inaccuracies,” he told local reporters, who then asked Jiang to comment on his land administration filing.

“I don't know the specifics,” he said. “I only know that when my father gave me the property, it was a gift. That is why we paid the gift tax, which was just a part of all taxes paid in relation to the property.”

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