January 1, 2011
A group of twelve lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties have introduced a bill into the National Assembly to allow for the establishment of a ‘unification tax’.
The bill calls for individuals and companies to pay 2 percent of their income tax towards the cost of unification; businesses to pay 0.5 percent of corporate tax as unification tax; and individuals to pay 5 percent of inheritance or gift taxes as unification tax.
The bill initiates legislative debate on practical measures to prepare for unification, as proposed by President Lee Myung-Bak in his Liberation Day speech, 15 August 2010. The proposal for a unification tax was not warmly welcomed at the time.
Lee has since reiterated concerns regarding the immanency of unification, which combined with North Korean behavior, have led to the tax proposal gaining wider acceptance. Practical measures to prepare for unification are becoming an increasingly frequent aspect of political debate, as concern regarding imminent and abrupt unification increases.