Posted May. 14, 2009 08:11,
"Is the seizure of golf memberships the best way to get the wealthy to pay back taxes?"
A lawyer owed 57.8 million won (47,000 U.S. dollars) in back taxes early this year, including 23.5 million won (19 million dollars) in income tax. Tax officials repeatedly pressured him to pay the taxes but he kept stalling by saying, My income has declined.
When tax officials informed him of their plan to seize his golf club membership after confirming that he bought it for 279 million won (220,000 dollars) in September last year, he immediately went to his neighborhood tax office and paid the taxes.
The National Tax Service said yesterday that it confirmed 1,269 people purchased 1,747 golf club memberships from January to April this year, and that it collected 13.8 billion won (11.1 million dollars) in back taxes from 715 people by threatening to seize their golf memberships.
The tax agency is taking steps to auction off the golf club memberships of 554 people who refuse to pay back taxes even after being informed of the seizure.
Jeong Yi-jong, director of the tax collection division at the National Tax Service, said, We will thoroughly trace the wealth of people who have failed to pay back taxes though they hold assets."
We will request the Justice Ministry to place travel bans on people with large amounts of back taxes, including those who owe more than 50 million won (40,230 dollars) in back taxes but take frequent overseas trips.
Tax officials last year collected 7.1 trillion won (5.7 billion dollars) in back taxes by tracing the assets of tax delinquents, including golf memberships.