Taiwan Legal Update: Statute for Industrial Innovation Extends Tax Preference & Legislation on Preventing Drunk Driving

WEEKY NEWS PICTURE (TW)

Taiwan Legal Update: Statute for Industrial Innovation Extends Tax Preference & Legislation on Preventing Drunk Driving

Draft Amendment to Statute for Industrial Innovation Extends Tax Preference to 2029

The Executive Yuan approved the draft amendment to Statute for Industrial Innovation proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs(MOEA) on March 21. The draft bill confirms that the tax preference will be extended for another ten years. In addition, undistributed surpluses from substantial investment are entitled to 5% of business tax deduction to cater to the need of industry development.

After the approval from Executive Yuan, the draft will be sent to Legislative Yuan for review. Considering the current tax incentive policy will expire by the end of this year, Primer Su instructed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Finance to negotiate with the Congress and complete the revision as soon as possible.

The MOEA pointed out that the three key points of this Statute for Industrial Innovation includes extending the preferential tax policy for a decade, improving the motivation for firm investment and strengthening the tax incentives.

According to MOEA, to encourage industry to innovate and invest long-term investment programs, the tax preference policy will apply to current research and development deduction, technology or inventors’ investment and employee stock rewards. Limited partnership ventures can be applied to personal taxation and angel investors could enjoy a preferential tax rate. Along with the 5% deduction for undistributed surpluses investment, all types of investments mentioned above will continue to implement until December 31, 2029.

To spur speculation, enterprises making substantial investments with undistributed surpluses, such as building or purchasing plant, software, and hardware equipment or technology for self-production or business use for a certain amount, could be exempt from 5% of business tax, MOEA said.

Personal technology stocks or allotment of share to patent owners can apply to the tax rate based on the selling price or allotment price of the stock, depending on which price is lower. The government also relax the restriction to allow employees receiving treasury shares or new share warrants as retention bonus from parent/subsidiary company may lower the tax liability by taking the price of parent/subsidiary company stocks or the price of employed company stocks as the tax base, depending on which of that is lower. The new regulation would advance the firm’s ability to keep its essential staff.

Finally, MOEA also loosened the regulations for the limited partnership ventures that have been raised a large number of funds at once, which permit the natural person as the subject to tax.

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Civic Groups Call For Rational Legislation on Preventing Drunk Driving

The Congress passed a portion of Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act with regard to drunk driving on third reading on March 26. The new amendment not only increases the fine for violators but differentiate the penalties for motorcyclists and car drivers caught driving under the influence. In addition to this, the passengers of the same drunk driving vehicle will be punished as well. Ignition Interlock will be compelled to install on dunk-drivers vehicles in the future.

As for increasing the criminal liability of drunk driving, the Judicial and Legal Committee of the Legislative Yuan is currently reviewing the case, while consensus is yet to be reached. In the meanwhile, the several civic organization, including Covenants Watch, Taipei Bar Association, Judicial Reform Foundation, Taiwan Association for Human Rights released a joint statement to call for rational legislation on the preventing drunk driving. Details are shown in the below paragraph.

  1. With “increasing the penalty” as a countermeasure against drunk driving, there should be empirical research support

Article 185-3 of the Criminal Code, regulating the offence of unsafe to drive, was amended in 2008, 2011 and 2013 to increase the penalty in the hope of curbing drunk driving. In fact, many lawmakers propose to have stricter punishment, for instance, life imprisonment or even death sentence.

Nevertheless, in both theory and practice, criminal law has a rigorously examining criteria. Whether the drunk driving behaviour has subjective murder intention shall be ruled by the court in accordance with the fact and the subsumption of requisite elements.  Secondly, drunk driving has its historical and social background. The function of criminal punishment has its limit and cannot replace a criminal policy based on empirical study. It is questionable that criminal legislation which lacks an empirical basis and merely pursues severe punishments could really deter drunk driving behaviour. Simply imposing heavier punishment will create more social problems. For example, the prison may become unbearable, and it is more difficult for the prisoners to return to society after long-term imprisonment. Pre-existing and prudent research and evaluation are required before legislation.

 

  1. Excessive punishment may make it difficult to apply between cases

If increasing the punishment to life imprisonment or even the death penalty for alcohol-impaired driving to death, the result will be no different from the crime of intentional homicide. Without a doubt, it will confuse the theoretical basis of modern criminal law and trouble judicial interpretation and the application of requisite elements. Furthermore, when dealing with a specific case, the court shall rule according to circumstances. If the law is to increase the statutory penalty for drunk driving to death, which is equivalent to intentional homicide, then it might contradict to the Balance Theory of Crime and Punishment. Finally,  the capital punishment for crimes other than murder of intentional criminal acts is in violation of article 6 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Civic groups demand the lawmaking department to enact the law on an empirical basis and conform to the principle of proportionality and the principle of the punishment fitting the crime as the measure to curb drunk driving and meet up the standard of international human rights. Legislators should exercise their powers rationally and prudently adopt the most appropriate legislation,  precisely because Taiwanese people have attached significance to alcohol-impaired driving.

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