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South Korea offers to train ASEAN countries in tax administration

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SOUTH KOREA has offered to host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) training program for tax policy and administration, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement.

This was after “substantial progress” was made on regional taxation agreements among the 10-member states, during the ASEAN Forum on Taxation-Working Group (AFT-WG) on Oct. 24-25 in Panglao, Bohol, the body’s second meeting this year.

The initiatives include a strategic action plan and a set of annual priorities to move ahead on harmonizing the withholding tax rates among the ASEAN member-states and the exchange of information and a training program for tax policy and administration in the region.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said that the Kookmin Institute of South Korea offered to host and shoulder the costs of the training program.

The Philippines in 2016 had a tax effort of 13.7%, representing tax collections as a percentage of gross domestic product. This is only half of the 34.3% average in OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.

The Philippines chairs the AFT until 2019, and will conduct the next meeting on March 2018 to discuss results of global financial advisory firm Deloitte’s proposed study on the withholding tax structure in ASEAN.

Also expected to be discussed in the meeting are the regional bloc’s assessment of the training by the Kookmin Institute, and the progress on the completion of the double-taxation agreements.

The AFT serves as platform to address tax-related impediments to regional economic integration as well as to support regional dialogue on taxation issues.

Current efforts of the group include the establishment of the network of bilateral agreements on avoidance of double taxation. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan