Sotuh Korea to crack down on offshore tax evasion

Seoul, Jan 17 (Yonhap) South Korea will clamp down onlarge businesses and affluent individuals who try to evadetaxes by concealing their wealth abroad, the customs officesaid today.

The National Tax Service (NTS) said it plans toscrutinize financial and asset transaction records anddeliberate deletion of foreign earnings designed to make ithard for authorities to determine the wealth of individualsand companies.

Emphasis will be placed on finding stock holdings,bank accounts and properties listed under a third person''sname, practices that are designed to make it hard to levyappropriate taxes.

The move aims to ferret out illegal transfer of wealthwithout payment of related inheritance or transfer taxes, itsaid.

The measures come as the tax office was able to slapfines worth around 2.77 trillion won (USD 2.49 billion) onpeople and businesses that tried to evade paying their taxeslast year by sending or hiding money and assets in foreigncountries.

"The plan for this year is to conduct at least 18,300detailed examinations, which are on par with those carried outlast year, but to concentrate more manpower and introduce newscreening systems," the office said.

Besides strengthening the probe on the wealthy andlarge conglomerates, the NTS said it will check earnings ofpeople engaged in wholesale of agricultural and fisheriesproducts to guard against hoarding and unfair profit taking.

Seoul wants to keep annual inflation at around the 3per cent level although recent rises in the prices of farm andfuel products is putting pressure on the government to do moreto control costs. (Yonhap)

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