Posted : 2016-04-11 17:17
Updated : 2016-04-11 18:05

Draft dodgers may face heavier taxes

By Jun Ji-hye

The government is seeking to levy heavier taxes on those exempted from mandatory military service after giving up their Korean citizenship, the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) said Monday.

The move is part of its efforts to strengthen sanctions against draft dodgers and prevent them from taking improper advantage of their change of nationality.

Last month, the MMA commissioned a study into whether the agency can levy heavier taxes such as inheritance and gift taxes on those who abandoned their Korean citizenship before fulfilling their obligation to serve in the military.

Currently, those who dodged enlistment by changing nationality can encounter disadvantages when attempting to be employed by Korean companies or obtain business approvals in Korea, in accordance with standing laws. But they are not automatically being overtaxed.

An MMA official said, "There is a need to go through a juridical review before enforcing the heavy taxation measure."

Other measures being examined by the MMA include giving promotion-related disadvantages to government high-ranking officials if their sons change their nationality with the purpose of evading their required military service.

The agency is also studying a measure to restrict attempts by those who obtain foreign citizenship just before their enlistment to lose their Korean nationality. The standing law stipulates that a person who obtains foreign citizenship automatically loses their Korean nationality.

Singer Yoo Seung-jun, (aka Steve Yoo) who was a K-pop sensation as soon as he made his debut in 1997, became a target of criticism after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen and renouncing his Korean citizenship shortly before his scheduled enlistment in 2002.

Moon Sang-gyun, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said, "In accordance with the results of the study, the envisioned measures can become an actual policy, if necessary."

Follow Jun Ji-hye on Twitter @TheKopJihye

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