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(LEAD) S. Korea's tax revenue up 58.5 tln won last year amid economic recovery

All News 14:29 February 11, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 6-9; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's tax revenue rose 58.5 trillion won (US$48.7 billion) in 2021 from a year earlier amid the economic recovery and rises in housing prices, the finance ministry said Friday.

The government collected 344.1 trillion won in taxes last year, compared with 285.5 trillion won the previous year, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The country's tax revenue increased last year after the second consecutive year of decline. In 2020, the tax revenue fell 7.9 trillion won due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, the collection of corporate taxes rose 14.9 trillion won on-year as operating profits jumped amid robust exports and the economic recovery.

Real estate-related tax revenue grew 14 trillion won from a year earlier as the government collected more capital gain taxes and comprehensive real estate taxes amid soaring home prices.

This computerized image shows the collection of taxes and excess tax revenue. (Yonhap)

The 2021 tax revenue of 344.1 trillion won was sharply up from the government's initial forecast of 282.7 trillion won made in August 2020. The country's excess tax revenue came to 61.4 trillion won last year.

The ministry revised its estimate for the yearly tax revenue to 314.3 trillion won in July last year when it created an extra budget. But even based on this forecast, the excess tax revenue reached 29.8 trillion won.

The finance ministry attributed its miscalculation to a faster-than-expected economic recovery and housing market situations.

Despite a set of measures to curb home prices, housing transactions spiked last year due to robust home-buying demand, jacking up collection of more capital gain taxes than expected.

The ministry proposed another round of an extra budget of 14 trillion won in January to support the pandemic-hit merchants. The extra budget will be first financed with a debt sale worth 11.3 trillion won as excess tax revenue can be used only after the government settles last year's state accounts in April.

For fiscal 2021, the country's total income, including tax revenue, amounted to 524.2 trillion won, up 58.7 trillion won from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Its gross expenditures came to 496.9 trillion won last year, up 43.1 trillion won from a year ago.

With 4 trillion won worth of the balance carried forward to this year, the country posted a record surplus of 23.3 trillion won last year. It marked the seventh straight year for the country to log such a surplus.

This photo, taken Feb. 7, 2022, shows apartment buildings in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The ministry did not provide details about fiscal soundness, but it earlier said if the trends continue, the 2021 fiscal deficit is expected to be smaller than its earlier projection of 90.3 trillion won.

With the proposed 14 trillion-won extra budget, the national debt is forecast to reach 1,075.7 trillion won this year and the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise to a record high of 50.1 percent, according to the government's estimate.

The fiscal deficit is expected to reach 68.1 trillion won this year, equivalent to 3.2 percent of the GDP.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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