COST OF LIVING/Premier announces NT$6,000 rebate of surplus tax revenue for citizens
Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) The government is planning to give each Taiwanese a one-off cash payment of NT$6,000 (US$196) as a rebate of what has been described as surplus tax revenue, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in Chiayi County, Su said the government would keep NT$40 billion of the NT$180 billion in surplus tax revenue as a reserve and share the rest with Taiwanese.
With the aim of "sharing the country's economic achievements with all citizens young and old," each Taiwanese national will be given a one-off cash payment of NT$6,000, Su said.
It remains unclear, however, whether foreign nationals residing in Taiwan who have paid taxes to the government will be included in the rebate plan.
Asked by CNA about the matter, the Cabinet did not provide any details, saying only "planning is ongoing."
According to Su, the government will seek to issue the cash payment shortly after the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Jan. 20 and lasts until Jan. 29.
The Cabinet will have to send its rebate plan to the Legislature for approval.
Given repeated calls by legislators across party lines for the surplus tax revenue to be returned to the people in various forms, it is likely that the Legislature will decide on the matter soon after the Cabinet sends in its proposal.
However, lawmakers are split on when they should review such a plan. The Legislature's regular session has been extended to Jan. 13 to give lawmakers more time to review the proposed 2023 central government general budget plan.
While the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) lawmakers have proposed that a provisional session be held from Jan. 16-20 to discuss the matter, Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's legislative caucus whip, said it was better for the Legislature to do so in the next session, which will begin before the end of February.
Su's announcement followed a policy reversal by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) who, despite earlier ruling out any imminent plans to give the surplus tax revenue back to the public, promised a rebate plan on Tuesday.
Jan. 3: In policy reversal, Tsai pledges cash rebate of surplus tax revenues
On Sunday, the president told reporters that a meeting held Saturday about what to do with the surplus tax revenue did not touch upon any rebate plans and that the government had not set a timeline.
The controversy emerged after the Ministry of Finance recently estimated that last year's tax revenues could exceed the budgeted amount by NT$450 billion, after the central government collected more than NT$3 trillion in tax revenue for the first 11 months of 2022.
Following Saturday's meeting, the government said it would allocate most of the NT$450 billion surplus tax revenue to other uses, such as providing financial support to the national health and labor insurance systems as well as subsidizing electricity prices, according to a statement from the Presidential Office.
The government will also have to distribute NT$70 billion of the total to local governments, thus leaving a reserve of NT$180 billion, part of which would be "shared with the people," according to the statement.
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