An estimated 18,000 people in show business declare earnings of less than W5 million per year (US$1=W1,209). According to statistics by the National Tax Service, 21,619 people in the entertainment business were exempt from VAT in 2008, up 18,598 from a year ago.

The reason the figure soared so dramatically is because entertainers with an annual income of less than W5 million were included in the statistics. The number of poor actors rose by 10,921, of singers by 2,866, and of models by 4,811 from 2007 to 2008.

The NTS statistics reveal that the average annual income of an entertainer in 2008 was W28.5 million -- W38 million for actors, W26 million for singers and W11 million for models.

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