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Monday, November 28, 2005

tax-evading rich self-employed

The MBC investigative program Producer's Memo, under heavy fire for the last days after airing a program about the ethical lapses in Hwang Woo-suk's stem cell research, will do a special on the tax evasion of wealthy non-salaried professionals (in Chosun Ilbo). Judging from the short Yonhap article in Chosun, the program won't be without the usual features when talking about the excesses of the rich like driving foreign cars, but the program does have an issue of investigating doctors and lawyers with declared monthly income of million won (800€) but living in 12 billion won (1000 000€) or 120 pyeong (400 sq.m) apartments
Their most frequent method of tax evasion was to refuse credit cards and have customers use cash.
Many clinics put emphasis on doing treatments not covered by insurances, and in the case of lawyers, did not declare the consultation fees. [...] There were also cases of evading taxes by having a salaried doctor or lawyer work as a stooge representative for the business.

The same issue was discussed a week ago in an article and an editorial of Kyunghyang Sinmun after the National Statistics Office published a survey on household taxes and consumption. The monthly taxes paid by self-employed families paid were 43% of taxes paid by salaried families, and yet the monthly expenditures of self-employed families were slightly higher.

In these cases it's the self-employed in professional occupations to whom the condemning tones and looks are directed, not the small shopkeepers (who themselves are not really dying because of direct taxes), who mostly seem to be a target of pity and sympathy due to their often difficult conditions. (A good example of such a view is a Hankyoreh article on a bookshop keeper, of which I'm going to write a note soon: "Only debts after 27 years of working without rest". Or this: "Baking bread only once a day and yet can't sell it all")

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