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Taiwan president dismisses report that he holds a United States green card

Published on May 14, 2014 8:51 PM
 
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, categorically denied a report that he holds a US green card and owes the US government NT$500,000 (S$21,000) in taxes, saying he would resign if the claim turned out to be true. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday categorically denied a report that he holds a US green card and owes the US government Tw$500,000 (S$21,000) in taxes, saying he would resign if the claim turned out to be true.

The report, appearing in the latest issue of Taiwan's Next Magazine, alleged that Mr Ma holds US permanent residency and is therefore subject to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

The law, effective from January 2014 and known worldwide as Fatca, requires US citizens, green card holders and other taxpayers abroad to report their income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US government agency responsible for tax collection and enforcement.

Mr Ma has previously said he renounced the US green card he obtained two decades ago as a student in America, and he swiftly rebuffed the Next Magazine report. "President Ma had made it clear when he was campaigning for the presidency in 2008 that he had already renounced the green card that he obtained as a student in the United States more than 20 years ago," presidential spokesman Li Jia-fei told reporters. "Since it has long become invalid, the president is absolutely unlikely to pay tax to the US authority," she said. "President Ma would like to shoulder full political responsibility and resign if it turned out to be true."

 
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