DREAMING IN HALLYU: What is Korean Taxpayers’ Day?

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Amidst the *Bureau of Internal Revenue’s squabble with the Philippine doctors, I sensed a disturbance in my Shim Changmin newsfeed on Facebook. Apparently, March 3, 2014 was the Korean Taxpayer’s Day. Really?! For a country that is heavily stigmatized by taxes because of several corruption scandal since the Marcos administration, a single event revering taxpayers is a concept that is very alien to me.

What is Taxpayer’s Day in Korea

It is a single day event encouraging Korean citizens to pay their taxes honestly and on time by awarding citizens and companies who are top taxpayers. Celebrities who pay their taxes right on time are also appointed as Tax Goodwill Ambassadors. Such as Secret Garden’s Ha Ji Won and Queen In Hyun Man’s Yoon In Na.

Even Song Joong Ki.

songjoongki-taxpayersday

This year, the Korean government has appointed Dong Bang Shin Ki’s Shim Changmin to be an Honorary Tax Director for a day.

changmin-taxpayerday02”As soon as he walks the aisle, cue Right Said Fred song here.”


I could think of several things of what could happen if I shoot this event:

1. I would have to use a ladder to shoot this, because I am not endowed with massive height as this chap here.

changmin-taxpayerday01

 

2. While he is conspicuously signing stuff, he spots my camera snapping away.

changmin-taxpayerday03

 

3. I would signal “Yeogi” like an aggressive *cough* photographer *cough*.

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4. …AND probably would have to excuse myself and run to the ladies’ room after taking this shot.

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Then in the ladies’ room…

Hey, maybe they should be showing some love for their taxpayers since they pay a lot more to sustain their growth unlike us Filipinos… NOPE!

From what my Google Search found, the proportion of South Korea’s Income Tax Rate is almost the same as our less economically growing country

A Global Look at Personal Income Taxes - Interactive Infographic by TurboTax

“Click on the image to see tax comparison of each countries.”

 Maybe I would hear an ordinary Korean citizen moaning and groaning over his or her taxes, but if the Korean tax rate is equal to what I am paying every year, given that our average salary is lesser than our chingus, then Korea is doing a lot more with their national budget.

Any citizen cannot escape paying taxes, from the moment you start buying stuff, you are already paying taxes. (HAH! I paid attention during my Taxation class in college!) Taxes in this country can come in many forms and the most common is the VAT or EVAT, which is included in every goods that we buy, from candies to a Dong Bang Shin Ki album.

 IMG_4581“My~yyy… preciou~uuus!”

So technically, every Filipino is paying taxes, it’s just a matter of filing it honestly.

Unlike Korea, the Philippines (yes, the whole country) enjoys punishing their own fella rather than rewarding those who have done good. Yes, the government has revered our greatest sportmen and women but their reward is rather too small to outweigh their hardships.

pacparradeI’ll just put him ri~iiight, here! (Photo: Examiner.com)

Recently, the *BIR started a shame campaign directed to the country’s professionals and online sellers. Which, at some point, both parties have valid reasons, but nevertheless, failed to arrive at the conclusion of why do some of these professionals and businessmen do not want to pay their taxes?

From what I see, since Filipinos are so drawn to religion, the way we treat others is like in the bible too. At first they celebrate you, then they crucify you after a few days! Why? You see, professionals and businessmen are regarded highly in the country because of their contributions…

pacparrade”Yes, even this dude.”

 …and then, just like that, we topple them from their pedestals and shame them further.

The shame campaign has been done before by the BIR, which, in my opinion was witty. I can’t find the video but it goes like this: Tax evaders are forced to use the side of a bridge because they refuse to pay taxes properly, thus depriving them of basic services such as the use of public infrastructures, while those who paid properly are screaming at them “Pay your taxes!”

Whether believe it or not, it delighted my spirit a little bit when I was about to sign my Income Tax Return.

Where did it go wrong?

It seems that each and every one of us is stigmatized to pay for our country’s utilities by just watching the news. We all know that in order for a country to maintain itself up and running, its citizens should pay their dues. The money is given to our country managers — which in this case is our politicians. After several corruption scandals, we second thought something that we should be doing for our country.

Then what do we get for being honest? Just… no jail time or no BIR agents knocking to your door… or just not to be shamed in the public I guess?

But one can argue that an honest Filipino taxpayer is rewarded for his acts of goodwill, well, I could be wrong but from the way I see it, tax rewards are given in forms of exemptions which are given or availed by taxpayers who are actually doing some magic with their tax return forms rather than in the spirit of patriotism.

 magicmeme“Yes! Magic!”

I won’t touch on that issue further because, given the super pink layout of my blog and my url’s funny name, this is not the right avenue for such conspiracies. Besides, I don’t have any concrete evidence to back-up those tales except the seemingly smells like sh*t BIR offices in Quezon City. Not figuratively, but literally and I wish I was kidding.

Corruption is apparent in every country in the world and it might be worse in South Korea, but these countries can put it on check or in balance compared to ours.

I am not saying that we should be following our chingus move on showing some sarang to their citizens (because that’s just freakin’ expensive) but I’m just saying that we should rather reward those people who we needed to pay taxes the most – conglomerate entrepreneurs.

During the 48th Korea Taxpayers’ Day, the government recognized Merck Ltd. as the best tax paying business institution in Korea. If you were a scion here? Knowing that doing clean business in the country would reward you.

But not just business, even citizens are rewarded in South Korea. Imagine if this was applied here, just think of how many tax trophies would these celebrities receive?

So why is this event in South Korea Dae to the Bak?

Because according to a Korean, 500 honest taxpayers are invited to an event!

 If I were a Korean taxpayer, I would have a chance to join this event!

140307-CMtaxday-FORWEBSITE“Don’t mind my rabid dog expression Mr. Director.”

Unfortunately, being selected from over 50 million people is wa~aaaay trickier than it seems.

As they say, there are no sacred cows**. I do believe that not all South Koreans are truthfully paying their dues to Dae Han Min Guk, but, if you are one of those pure-hearted Hanguk Saram out there, you are receiving some love from your leaders, even if it’s just for a day.

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*- Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR is the Philippine version of the IRS.

**- Sacred Cow is an idiom used widely in political or religious context. In this post, I used the idiom because there is a tendency that some Hallyu fans would actually revere the country and it’s people from the surface without thinking that they are just another country like us.

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