Finance chief nominee calls for delaying taxation on stock capital gains, virtual assets

South Korea's finance minister nominee Choo Kyung-ho raised the need Monday to delay a planned taxation of capital gains from financial investments and cryptocurrencies by two years into 2025.

Starting next year, the government plans to levy the capital gains tax rate of 20 percent on financial investments, including stocks, bonds and funds. For stock investment, investors should pay a capital gain tax on profits that exceed 50 million won (US$39,500).

"There is a need to prod more funds to flow into the stock market by putting off a capital gain tax on financial investments and lowering a stock transaction tax," Choo said in a parliamentary confirmation hearing.

During election campaigning, President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said he will abolish the capital gain tax on stock investment in a bid to support retail investors, while maintaining the stock transaction tax at certain levels.

Last year, South Korea lowered the stock transaction tax rate on listed shares to 0.23 percent from 0.25 percent. The government plans to further cut the rate to 0.15 percent starting 2023, when it will begin to levy the financial investment capital gain tax.

Choo also said a planned taxation on cryptocurrencies should also be put off by two years until 2025.

The country was supposed to levy a 20 percent tax on capital gains from transactions of viral assets that exceed 2.5 million won from this year.

But rival political parties had agreed to delay its implementation by one year into next year, citing a lack of the taxation system and measures to protect investors.

Investors of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have cried foul over the government's taxation plan, claiming authorities should apply the same taxation standards as those imposed on stock transactions.

On inflation, Choo said the country's consumer prices could top the March growth rate of 4.1 percent for the time being as inflation is under upward pressure amid soaring energy costs.

"Inflation is likely to remain unstable for the time being in a way that could further worsen above the March growth rate of 4.1 percent," he added.

South Korea's consumer prices grew more than 4 percent for the first time in more than a decade in March as Russia's war with Ukraine has jacked up energy and other commodity prices. In February, inflation rose 3.7 percent on-year.

The International Monetary Fund recently lowered its 2022 growth outlook for the South Korean economy to 2.5 percent while raising its inflation projection to 4 percent. The Bank of Korea aims to keep annual inflation at 2 percent over the medium term.

Choo said the South Korean economy is in a "grave" situation where low economic growth could be entrenched while inflation runs high.

"The country could be stuck in a trap of low growth. South Korea's potential economic growth rate has continued to decline as the government-led growth has sapped vitality in the private sector," he added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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