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Almost half of South Korean workers exempt from income taxes

[THE INVESTOR] The ratio of South Korean workers exempt from paying earned income taxes reached 48.1 percent in 2014, higher than the figure from other advanced economies, a local report said on July 31. 

The ratio is much higher than, for instance, the 25.1 percent reached in Australia and 2.9 percent in Britain, according to the July edition of the Finance Forum released by the Korea Institute of Public Finance.

The percentage of Korean workers who did not pay taxes on their income has actually been falling from 47.6 percent in 2006 to 32.4 percent in 2013. 

However, in 2014, the number jumped on a revision of the country’s income tax rules that aimed to allow people to pay fewer taxes throughout the year in exchange for accepting smaller refunds at the year‘s end.

Broken down, the ratio of workers who did not pay income taxes jumped to 17.8 percent, or 235,144, of the workers who earn 40 million won-50 million won ($36,000-45,000) a year. It was up from the 1.5 percent for workers in the same wage category in 2013, the report said.

Among those who earn more than 100 million won a year, 0.27 percent, or 1,441, were exempt from paying income taxes in 2014, jumping from a mere 0.01 percent from 2013. 

(theinvestor@heraldcorp.com)


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