Taiwan Church News
1 – 7 Janary, 2018
Tax & Legal Reform League Urges Reform Of Taiwan Tax Law
Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong
On 28 December 2017, the very date when The Taxpayers Rights Protection Act (TTRPA) was officially effected, a press conference urging Taiwan society to fix TTRPA immediately was also held at The Mayor’s Residence Art Salon of Taipei City.
Professor Chen Tze-lung, former NTU law professor and one of the founders of Tax&Legal Reform League, strongly criticized TTRPA as an unconstitutional law unfortunately governed by a legally-ignorant and power- abusive Ministry of Finance(MOF). This is because MOF indiscriminately recognized as holy cow all 9,528 interpretive papers or working stipulations of current financial tax laws, prof Chen angrily protested, adding that some of these tedious legal explanations and tax rules were even classified without publication.
According to TTRPA, the officials assigned by MOF to protect the taxpayers should come from National Taxation Bureau, which is an institute subordinate to MOF. No wonder this phenomenon is denounced as playing unfair – acting as both player and referee in the lawsuit of tax dispute.
Another unbelievable fact is that the judges of all Taiwan administrative courts were allowed to be easily qualified as tax affairs judges after a simple in-house test. This ad hoc method to recruit tax affairs judges, who usually requires a highly professional training quite different from that required of judges of administrative court, put the rights and property of the people in great risk under the tax court of Taiwan.
Based on an academic statistics of legal cases on tax affairs, investigated by associate prof Huang Hsi-chou of National Taipei University of Business, Taiwanese civilian could only expect 1.6% of chance to win his case in current tax court. And the main reason for this alarming tax injustice is due to the incompetence of the tax affairs judge to deliver a professional judgement and cowardly move most of these cases intact back to National Taxation Bureau to re-open another cycle of hegemony tax lawsuit, associate prof Huang remarked.
Lawyer Lee Seng-hsiung, who is an elder of Gi-kong Presbyterian Church and the president of Taiwan Association for Human Rights, expressed that tax and legal reform was a very important part of transitional justice. He said citizens in a democratic state should love their country and the people they lives with, but not the state machinery which is set up to serve them as master. Let us not forget the story of the chief tax collector Zacchaeus’ repenting himself and swearing to the Lord, “If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much”, Elder Lee advised.
Translated by Peter Wolfe