No plan to impose tax for all-volunteer force: Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford on Thursday spoke against the Ministry of National Defence (MND), saying that no plan is in place to levy a tax for an all-volunteer military.

Change made the above-mentioned remark to local media not long after the MND officials said that the MOF is currently studying the possibility of imposing a tax surcharge to support the military's transition to an all-volunteer force.

Chang, when asked for comment, said that no plans are currently in place to collect the tax. "Unless the new tax reform plan can generate sufficient financial resources, I don't see much sense in collecting this kind of tax on an ad-hoc basis," he said.

The government's current focus is a reform plan to increase tax revenues, he added. In late February, Chang presented a plan for sound national finances.

The new tax reform plan is to raise both the business tax on banking and insurance institutions, as well as the consolidated income tax on high-income groups, in a bid to increase tax revenue to nearly NT$80 billion (S$3.34 billion) a year and narrow the government's budget gap, Chang said when he announced the new plan late last month.

Local media reported yesterday that Defence Minister Yen Ming revealed a possible tax was previously discussed during the meeting of a Cabinet task force, but few definite details have been provided at this point.

The MND welcomes the idea of a tax to support the military's transition to an all-volunteer force, a ranking officer said, adding that the decision will rest with the MOF.

Lt. General Chen Chi, director of the ministry's Comptroller Bureau, made the comments in response to lawmakers' questions during a hearing of the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committee, according to CNA.