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State tax agency launches probe on 30 offshore tax evasion cases

All News 12:00 January 27, 2016

SEJONG, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's tax authorities said Wednesday that it has launched probes into 30 offshore tax evasion cases as part of its efforts to clamp down on tax dodging.

The National Tax Service (NTS) said the investigation is targeting companies and individuals who have allegedly concealed their wealth using offshore paper companies in various tax havens around the world.

A total of 1.3 trillion won (US$1.08 billion) in taxes were slapped on evaders as a result of its offshore probes last year, up 5 percent from 1.2 trillion won in 2014, according to the NTS.

The number has been rising steadily since 2012, when the total reached 825.8 billion won.

The NTS said the U.S.-led Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) took effect at the beginning of this year, which allows the NTS to collect financial data from any financial institutions anywhere in the world that directly or indirectly have an account held by a South Korean national.

"From now on, we will focus on cracking down on offshore tax evasion efforts, and the FATCA will help the authorities investigate such cases through financial information sharing," said Han Seung-hee, an official from the NTS Investigation Bureau.

The stepped-up crackdown is in line with the government's broader effort to establish fair taxation rules and expand the overall revenue base. South Korea needs more money to handle more social welfare programs being pushed by President Park Geun-hye.


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