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Lawmakers, business and art figures push for Mecenat bill

 Lawmakers, business leaders and art figures urged a quick passage of the Mecenat bill first proposed three years ago at a press conference held on Tuesday at Press Center in central Seoul.

Rep. Cho Yoon-sun and Lee Seong-heon of the ruling Grand National Party; Park Young-ju, head of the Korean Business Council for the Arts; Lee Seong-rim, head of The Federation of Artistic & Cultural Organizations of Korea; Oh Kwang-su, chairman of Arts Council Korea participated in the press conference organized by KBCA.

The gist of the bill is to allow 10 percent additional tax credit to companies that donate artworks; tax deduction (10 percent for big companies and 20 percent for small and medium companies) for the cost spent on art education for employees; registration tax deduction for culture-related non-profit corporations.

“The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said that the bill is unlikely to be passed because it will not be fair to those who make donations for non-artistic causes. But among all donations made in Korea, only 0.2 percent is for art and 99.8 percent goes to other causes like education and welfare. It is not detrimental to fairness to temporarily adopt the tax credit until the proportion increases a bit more,” said Cho.

“By deducting a total of about 10 billion to 20 billion won, about 800 billion won can be provided to the art and culture scene. Tax deduction is a way to attract private capital without having to increase government budget.”

Currently, about 606 companies support art, among which 500 provide less than 10 million won each year. The total number of corporate entities in South Korea number 400,000.

“Mecenat law was enacted in 2003 in France and the support for art and culture there has increased since then. The law will be an important basis for the development of our art and culture,” said Park.

By Park Min-young (claire@heraldcorp.com)
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