The National Tax Service said Tuesday that it would deal sternly with 47 people allegedly operating unreported overseas accounts that hold more than 1 billion won each.
The state-run tax collector urged those offshore accountholders to voluntarily report their deposits to the authority, or otherwise face the consequences of being audited.
It said it would publicly disclose the owners of offshore accounts with deposits of more than 5 billion won should they refuse to abide by the law and report their holdings to the government agency.
The NTS said it would “discriminate” between those who filed reports with the agency and those who did not, noting that it would be willing to lessen its punishment of declared account holders.
It added that the agency had raised the amount of rewards from 100 million won to 1 billion won for people who report information on offshore accounts of third parties, further pressuring the 47 to come clean.
The NTS is seeking an amendment to a law that allows those who fail to report their offshore deposits to be swiftly prosecuted, it noted.
The agency’s toughened stance against offshore account holders comes as it seeks to help the government make up for a shortfall in tax revenue, and back its efforts to come up with funds to finance welfare expansion.
Uncovering unreported offshore accounts is part of the NTS’ drive to normalize taxation of such account holders and the self-employed in the underground economy.
In addition to raising taxes of workers with an annual salary of more than 55 million won, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance is seeking to secure 27.2 trillion won by levying taxes on the shadow market.
In total, the Park Geun-hye administration is planning to raise 135 trillion won for wealth distribution.
Almost 700 people reported to the authority their 6,718 offshore accounts worth 22.8 trillion won so far this year, up 4 percent in terms of reports, 13 percent in terms of the number of accounts and 23 percent in net worth, the NTS noted.
The tax agency said the highest number of reports came from people who held accounts in Singapore, followed by Hong Kong.
By Park Hyong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org