More Fat Cats Voluntarily Report Offshore Assets

      September 08, 2016 12:28

      More and more Korean individuals and businesses are voluntarily reporting overseas bank accounts with more than W1 billion (US$1=W1,092).

      The National Tax Service said Wednesday that their number increased 28 percent last year from the year before, and the amount surged 52 percent to W56.1 trillion. The increase was largely due to leniency offered to those who voluntarily reported their offshore accounts.

      According to the NTS, 512 individuals reported overseas bank accounts containing more than W1 billion, up 24 percent from 2014. The total reported amount was W4.8 trillion or an average of W9.3 billion per person.

      Some 58 percent had put the money in U.S. financial institutions, but the biggest amount was held in Singapore with W1.32 trillion or on average W20.4 billion per person.

      Taxes in Singapore are very low, and it seems many rich people shift their money there if they want to bypass inheritance tax and pass it to their children.

      Due to the voluntary reporting program, 113 individuals with overseas accounts came clean, reporting W1.13 trillion worth of holdings abroad. "Greater cross-border cooperation among tax authorities appears to be prompting more people to come forward," a banker said.

      The measure has led to a solid rise in tax revenues. In 2015, the NTS collected W208.2 trillion in taxes, more than its goal of W206 trillion and emerging from the red for the first time in three years.

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