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Tax Authority to Disclose `Special Activity` Spending

Posted September. 11, 2009 08:03,   


The National Tax Service yesterday said it will disclose its monthly budget for “special activities” that do not require recording, foreshadowing a change in budget spending practices.

The National Assembly’s Special Committee on Budget and Accounts under the Strategy and Finance Committee unanimously approved a bill asking the tax office to release its monthly spending for such activities at headquarters and branches to parliament.

The request will be passed by a vote by the general meeting of the finance committee, the special committee and the regular parliamentary session. Once passed by the National Assembly, it will have the effect of law.

After the bill is passed in the regular session, the tax office must report the amount of special activity spending at headquarters and branches if the National Assembly demands.

Tax director Lee Hyun-dong and other senior officials attended the budget committee meeting when the bill was passed. Committee members also said spending details on special activities must be released as new National Tax Service Commissioner Baek Yong-ho leads reform in the body.

Committee chairman Kim Jae-gyeong pushed for the bill’s passage after stressing that the release of details is in line with the times.

Cheong Yang-seog of the ruling Grand National Party said, “This will help them give more confidence to the people as a more transparent body.”

The bill does not require disclosure of every single data on spending, but the special committee said measuring money spent per month for special activities will help them judge whether the government body spends appropriately.

For example, the tax office spent 984.2 million won (804,600 dollars) between 2006 and last year, but the National Assembly does not know whether it was spent at all.

Disclosing the amount of spending on special activities, though partial, has become official through the bill’s passage. Certain government bodies had previously reported on their spending unofficially, but this ended up as one-time event.

In 2005, the secretariat and security service of the presidential office reported to the National Assembly unofficially and so did the Government Information Agency. The budget for special activities can be used without getting receipts under the Board of Audit and Inspection’s guidelines.