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EUCCK undecided over shutdown

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea has remained undecided over whether it will close in response to the fine imposed by the Korean government for failing to report and pay income generated from its in-house magazine ad sales.

The EUCCK said it has so far paid 1.9 billion won out of the 4.5 billion won ($4.0 million) fine to the tax authorities.

The organization is currently divided over whether to take legal action over the National Tax Service’s penalty. One of the options is closing down the organization itself, but no definite agreement has been made yet, an EUCCK spokesman said.

The final decision requires several general meetings at least, and will not take place as early as in August, the official said.

The non-profit organization agreed that there had been sloppiness in recording and managing its financial transactions and receipts.

“They (the Namdaemun branch officials of the National Tax Service) imposed the tax for unsystematic management,” the EUCCK spokesman said. “We should have kept these financial papers from so many years ago, but we didn’t.”

The 26-year-old organization said that it has hosted numerous government-supported events to provide European companies and investors with business consultations and guidelines regarding the Korean business environment and related policies.

“European companies that are curious about policy changes asked us to hold informative sessions and sent over needed expenses.” the EUCCK spokesman said. “The government labeled the money as profit, because we have no printed papers to account for such monetary transactions.”

These non-profit, government-engaged activities involve all ministries either directly or indirectly, the EUCCK said.

The reason why the Nation Tax Serviced decided to probe EUCCK after 26 years is unknown, the EUCCK said, because the institute is not responsible for accounting for the causes of every probe.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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