On Jan. 11, which is Law Day, protesters staged a demonstration outside the Ministry of Finance, saying the Taxation Administration's tax rewards are not authorized by the law, and the legislature did not abolish tax rewards but only frozen one tenth of the NT$ 100 million budget. Protesters called for the ministry to enact tax reforms.
Protesters throw water balloons at images of Taxation Administration Director-General Lee Ching-hua, former Finance Minister Sheu Yu-jer and others. Shortly after, they got into an altercation with the police. The protesters, who wore yellow vests, had encircled the Ministry of Finance to accuse it of illegally offering tax rewards to government functionaries to track down tax evaders. They said these incentives involve illegal benefits and a country ruled by law should not offer tax rewards, because government functionaries already receive monthly salaries.
The Ministry of Finance justified it by saying it based on its own announcement, and it's not a bonus for tracking down tax evasion, but a performance bonus. To this, we say that it doesn't matter what you call it. There needs to be a basis for it in the law. You compiled this budget. It doesn't matter what it's for, but it needs to have a legal basis. It doesn't have that right now.
On Jan. 10, the legislature reviewed the central government's 2019 overall budget. The Ministry of Finance budgeted over NT$ 100 million for "tax rewards." Legislators voted to pass a proposal to freeze one-tenth of the tax rewards budget of the Taxation Administration and five regional taxation bureaus and said the money would only be unfrozen after a written report is submitted. Groups in support of tax reform say this will lead to indiscriminate taxation and the issue of tax rewards with no basis.
This further sullies the image of the ruling party. If it renounces this NT$ 130 million in so-called tax rewards for tracking down tax evasion, it will do wonders for its image. The ruling party has lost a lot over a small amount of money, and it's obvious it doesn't know the suffering of the public.
The protesters also criticized the Ministry of Finance for collecting over NT$ 500 billion in taxes during the past four years but not returning anything to the public.