Tax overhaul focused on easing low income earners' burden: minister

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's tax code overhaul, which will be unveiled this week, will be focused on easing the burden on low income earners, and small- and medium-sized businesses, the finance minister said Wednesday.

The government draws up its tax code revisions every year to reflect its broad economic policy directions and the latest economic conditions. The 2013 proposal will be unveiled on Thursday and submitted to the National Assembly for approval.

"(Under the overhaul proposal), tax revenue from low- and middle-income earners, and small- and medium-sized enterprises will decline, while revenue from wealthy people and large conglomerates will increase," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said during a discussion session with reporters from major broadcasting companies.

"We will not revise tax laws aimed at targeting certain working groups simply in order to make up for the government's tax revenue shortage."

As for shrinking tax revenue for this year, Hyun said that the tax-collecting environment will improve during the second half, driven mostly by rebounding economic conditions. He added that the government does not need to prepare yet another extra budget to fill the revenue shortage.

He made the remarks amid growing concerns that the government will not be able to collect as much in taxes as earlier targeted for this year due to the slowing pace of the economic recovery.

According to data provided by the National Tax Service, the government collected 82.13 trillion won (US$73.8 billion) in taxes during the January-May period, which is about 9 trillion won less than the same period a year earlier.

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