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New Tax Chief Announces Sweeping Reshuffle

Posted July. 17, 2009 07:37,   


New National Tax Service Commissioner Baek Yong-ho heralded a sweeping reform of the tax office in his inauguration speech yesterday.

He cited change and recovery of trust as his guiding principles for reform, saying, “I’m concerned over a loss of public confidence in the government’s handling of tax affairs,” adding, “To restore trust, we must fulfill our duty faithfully.”

Baek signaled a major personnel shake-up by saying, “The people are particularly disappointed at improprieties committed by high-ranking officials.”

He also emphasized the need for a reshuffle in his parliamentary hearing, saying, “A reshuffle of high-ranking and executive positions is necessary.”

Baek`s comments are expected to lead to mass resignations of senior tax officials, including deputy chief Heo Byung-ik, and subsequent personnel shifts.

On the timetable of the reshuffle, Baek said, “It will come at a proper time to quickly stabilize the organization.”

By stressing a small but efficient tax office, Baek also implied an impending restructuring of the organization. He stopped short of mentioning detailed reform measures presented by a presidential task force, however, that include the dissolution of provincial tax offices and the abolition of the audit function of provincial and municipal offices.

Rather, he gave more weight to internal reform. “If we fail to take the initiative in bringing change, we will face bigger difficulties,” he said.

A tax official said, “Along with a personnel shake-up, an organizational reshuffle is inevitable. The new chief intends to decide on the scope of the reshuffle after reviewing the reform will of tax officials and the possibility of reform.”