Newspaper article China Post

Paying Taxes Is One's Duty, Not a Form of 'Charity'

Newspaper article China Post

Paying Taxes Is One's Duty, Not a Form of 'Charity'

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: [...] denotes non-USASCII text omitted)

It spells trouble when a government official suggests that paying one's tax honestly is anything but a civic duty. The problem is worse when that official is the finance minister.

Last week, Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford ([...]) expressed gratitude to and admiration of four of the nation's richest people - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) Chairman Morris Chang ([...]), Hon Hai Group Chairman Terry Gou ([...]), Eastern Realty Chairman Wang Ying-chieh ([...]) and Delta Electronics Chairman Bruce Cheng ([...]) - for saying that they are willing to pay the so-called wealthy tax, a series of new taxation measures aimed at financial institutions and those with higher incomes.

According to the finance minister, the four said that they are willing to pay the extra tax because the amounts are relatively low, lower even than their charity donations.

Using the four as examples, the minister urged the affluent to honestly pay their taxes.

"Consider paying taxes a form of charity. Your tax payments benefit the whole population. It is a charitable and pious act, " He said. "In fact, there is only so much money you can spend."

Chang's opinion risks antagonizing the general public as he focused only on the rich while ignoring the millions of honest taxpayers. But even that is benign considering the twisted plutocratic logic underlining Chang's argument. Taxation is not a form of charity. The rich in Taiwan pay taxes not for the benefit of the whole population, but to fulfill one's duty and more importantly to ensure the proper functioning of the nation upon which their own well-being depends.

A business like the TSMC needs stable power and water supplies, a healthy and well-educated work force and a good infrastructure, among other things, to function properly. All of these can only be provided by the state. Rich people also require a safe and pleasant environment to live in; again they can only rely on the state for this need. …

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