The National Tax Service is investigating A-list Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun and Jang Keun-suk, according to industry sources.
Actress Jun Ji-hyun, who owns real estate properties worth 13.1 billion won ($12.8 million), was confirmed to be under investigation, but Jun’s agency explained it is part of a regular tax inspection process.
Hallyu actor Jang Keun-suk’s agency also confirmed that the star was being questioned for allegedly underreporting his income in China, worth an estimated 2 billion won. Jang was listed as the youngest rich real estate owner in Korea after acquiring a building worth about 10 billion won in Seoul’s fashion district Cheongdam in 2011.
The NTS confirmed on Wednesday in a press briefing that its Gangnam branch launched a thorough investigation into several Korean celebrities for possible tax evasion, but they didn’t reveal the names of those being investigated.
The tax authority downplayed the investigation. “Tax investigation into celebrities is nothing new. It is part of a bigger probe into rich real estate owners and highly paid businessmen,” an NTS official said.
The large-scale tax probe comes on the back of the news of actress Song Hye-kyo being hit with a 2.5 billion won tax evasion fiasco.
Song, who owns real estate worth 10 billion won around the country and 2 billion won-3 billion won in the U.S., immediately apologized last month, saying that the violation was made by her accountant without her knowledge.
According to Chaebul.com, a website that tracks the wealth of the rich, entertainment powerhouse SM Entertainment CEO Lee Soo-man, YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk and singer Seo Tae-ji had the three biggest real estate holdings among Korean entertainment figures.
Actress Jun Ji-hyun, actor Song Seung-hun and singer Rain followed, with the total value of their properties ranging between 11 billion won and 13.1 billion won.
The tax probes come less than one month after the newly appointed National Tax Service Commissioner Lim Hwan-soo vowed to rectify the tax-dodging practices of conglomerates and upper-bracket taxpayers.
By Suk Gee-hyun (email@example.com)