Three types of foreign nationals in Taiwan will be eligible for a lump-sum tax rebate of NT$6,000 (US$197) set to be issued after the Lunar New Year, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (???) said Thursday.
According to Lo, the government had decided that only foreign nationals with permanent residency, resident spouses of Taiwanese nationals, and foreign diplomats would be entitled to the one-off cash handouts.
As a result, tax-paying foreign residents who hold a standard Alien Resident Certificate will be excluded from the rebate program, which is to be funded by NT$380 billion surplus recorded by the government last year.
Lo’s comments were made at a press briefing, in which the spokesman also said the Cabinet had approved a proposed bill outlining its spending plans for the surplus and would send it to the Legislature later the same day for approval.
Part of those surplus tax revenues would be returned to the people of Taiwan “as a means to meet the expectations of the public,” Lo said.
On Jan. 4, Premier Su Tseng-chang (???) announced that the government would draw NT$140 billion from the NT$380 billion tax surplus to issue the one-off cash payments of NT$6,000 to all citizens shortly after the Lunar New Year’s holiday, which runs from Jan. 20-29.
Foreign nationals who fulfilled “certain criteria” would be included in the rebate plan, Lo said, adding that the criteria would be the same as those of the stimulus vouchers launched by the government in October 2021.
He told the press conference that the Cabinet would work and communicate with lawmakers to ensure a swift passage of the bill.
After the proposed bill clears the Legislature, Lo went on, the Cabinet will then send a corresponding funding proposal to the Legislature for approval.
Once that funding bill also passes the Legislature, the Cabinet will be ready to issue the cash payments “within the shortest time possible,” he added.
In addition to the planned tax rebate, the proposed bill also includes an allocation of NT$100 billion to financially support the country’s health and labor insurance systems as well as state-owned Taiwan Power Co. to “subsidize electricity prices.”
The government would also spend NT$100 billion on long-term measures to bolster the resilience of the economy in the wake of shrinking export orders, according to the proposed bill.
Asked to provide more details about the planned financial support for Taipower, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (???) said only the council awaited the company to propose its “demand.”
According to Kung, Taipower should propose its plan for approval, specifying how much money it needs and its spending plans.
Taipower lost NT$267.5 billion in 2022, Acting Chairman Tseng Wen-sheng (???), who concurrently serves as the country’s deputy economics minister, said at the company’s press conference on Tuesday.
The company’s financial loss for 2023 is projected to surpass that of 2022, Tseng said, underscoring the need to “fairly adjust power prices.”
Despite the heavy losses, the government has prevented the state-run utility from raising electricity prices in line with rising fuel costs in global markets.
The government’s plan to use the NT$380 billion tax surplus came after the Ministry of Finance in November estimated that last year’s tax revenues could end up exceeding the budgeted amount by NT$450 billion after the central government collected more than NT$3 trillion in tax revenues in the first 11 months of 2022.
The government has said it would have NT$380 billion at its disposal after distributing NT$70 billion to local governments.
At Thursday’s press conference, Acting Finance Minister Juan Ching-hwa (???) revised the estimated surplus tax revenues for 2022, saying it would total NT$495 billion.
However, the additional NT$45 billion would have to go to the government’s special funds, Juan said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel