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June 23, 2017

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Police officer owes over NT$46 million in taxes: MOF

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A police officer serving in Central Taiwan was found to have neglected to pay NT$46.33 million worth of taxes, said lawmakers yesterday.

After several legislators launched an investigation into civil servants' tax evasion, it was reported that the officer refused to pay his individual income taxes, business taxes and more. With a side job as the owner of a gravel plant, the man earns an estimated NT$230 million each year.

According to People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has provided a list of tax evasion cases up to March 2014. There were 5,523 cases of civil servants evading taxes in total; the amount of tax payments due reached NT$294.15 million. These numbers were released last week, with one MOF official explaining that the unpaid taxes were the result of many county or township representatives running private businesses.

Despite the explanation, lawmakers demanded that the MOF conduct a detailed probe. A list of the 10 major tax evasion cases was revealed — with the police officer heading the list.

The identity of the officer was not revealed.

Chang Ching-ke (張清課), deputy director general of the National Taiwan Taxation Bureau (NTTB) of the Central Area, said that the Bureau had begun a detailed investigation after receiving complaints in 2008 and discovered that the police officer was involved in gravel trading from 2001 to 2006 along with his wife. As the business was never officially registered, the couple had avoided paying taxes and additional fines.

The NTTB is only able to deduct one-third of the officer's monthly wages, which is roughly around NT$20,000; the total amount deducted from the man is NT$1.4 million, said Chang.

When Chen asked if the police officer was being detained by prosecutors or being questioned by Control Yuan officials, Chang replied that the NTTB had talked the policeman into establishing an official gravel factory that is registered. The man is also restricted from leaving the country and prohibited from disposing of his property.

The lawmakers were reportedly furious after Chang's words, with Chen slamming the NTTB for aiding and abetting the cop in setting up a second career. "Civil servants are not supposed to have another job; his gravel business was illegal in the first place. Why did the NTTB support and assist him in doing something illegal?" Chen demanded.

It was not the NTTB's responsibility to confirm if the officer's ways violated the law; the issue will be passed on to another department that has the authority, said Chang.

The lawmakers slammed the government once more, saying that the NTTB and the MOF has double standards for civil servants and common civilians when it comes to unpaid taxes.

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