S. Korea’s ruling party seeks overall change in taxation on securities trade

2019.03.06 11:55:36 | 2019.03.06 12:39:26

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South Korea is moving to simplify taxation on securities trade in line with global practices, including a phase-out of taxes on stock transactions.

The ruling Democratic Party’s ad hoc committee for capital market stimulation on Tuesday proposed to tax the net gain of an investor’s annual investment in both stocks and bonds and also enable capital losses to be carried over to the following year.

The outline requiring legislative changes needs further coordination within the party and with related ministries before being tabled into a bill.

The move is to simplify and rationalize the overall taxation on securities trade. Currently a fixed tax rate of 0.3 percent is collected for every stock trade. Income tax is imposed on the capital gains, raising complaints of double taxation.

The ruling party wants to phase out the stock trade tax and instead impose a levy on the total net return on securities investment instead of taxing individually by product, according to the outline. For instance, an investor who saw a $1,000 loss in a fund but a $2,000 profit in a stock investment would be taxed on the net $1,000.

Hong Nam-ki, deputy prime minister and finance minister, said last month the government aims to “incrementally lower the stock trade tax to help reinvigorate Korea’s capital market” and that it is “halfway through its internal assessment.”

Another plan in the works is to carry forward this year’s excess losses to next year when calculating taxable capital gains, which is expected to further ease the tax burden. In Japan, remaining capital losses can be carried forward for a period of three years. There is no carryover time limit in the U.S. and Britain.

By Yoo Joon-ho and Kim Hyo-jin

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