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Tax service nets billions as evaders are targeted

June 01,2019
The National Tax Services charged 325 individuals a total of 153.5 billion won ($128.8 million) in back taxes after finding they had evaded their obligations.

These people employed various methods of hiding income and profit, the tax authority said Thursday.

One of the tax evaders hid the gains he made from selling real estate under a doll.

The tax agency found in their investigation that the person made 700 million won from property transactions.

He wired 360 million won to his ex-wife and made 39 bank withdrawals totaling 20 million won.

It turned out that the couple, despite being divorced on paper, were living together.

After searching the house, the investigative team found 71 million won in cash hidden under a doll and four gold ingots in a closet.

Another tax evader registered all his personal properties in the name of his daughter-in-law.

The couple lived in a luxury apartment registered to their children and owned three high-end imported cars that were registered in the name of their daughter-in-law. The purpose was to create the impression that they couldn’t pay taxes owed.

The couple was found to have hid 1.2 billion won in cash in a plastic bag under the sink.

Through April, the tax agency said a cumulative 3,185 people were found to have evaded taxes. The government charged them a total of 695.2 billion won.

In recent years, the agency has been intensifying its investigations.

In 2014, the tax agency collected 140 million won of unpaid taxes. Last year, it was able to collect a total of 188 million won.

The tax agency said it is taking more aggressive measures against tax evaders.

On top of collecting the owed taxes, the tax agency said last year it filed civil suits in 369 tax evasion cases and sought criminal penalties in 258 cases.

The tax agency said a growing number of people are trying to hide their fortune by borrowing the names of family members.

One of the evaders caught transferred profit made from a real estate transaction to a bank account owned by her sister-in-law.

After withdrawing the 300 million won by check, she hid it in a secret place. Another put profit from selling a factory in a safe. It was in the form of gold bars,

The tax agency said the team charged with tracking down tax evaders this year uncovered a record in hidden funds. The team was formed in 2013.

This year, 142 people were working on evasion cases. The work involves questioning neighbors and people close to the suspects and even conducting stakeouts.

“We will not only take aggressive action against people committing tax evasion but also people who have helped them,” said a NTS official.

The official said that tax evaders living luxurious lifestyles are making it harder for people who pay their taxes honestly.

“We will track them down, whether that means tailing the person or through stakeouts,” the official said.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]