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Corporate tax debate heats up in South Korea amid presidential race

Mayor of Seoul suburb suggests raising it to 30% while others more cautious

KIM JAEWON, Nikkei staff writer | South Korea

SEOUL -- Raising corporate tax is a hot issue in South Korea where corporations contribute one fifth of the country's tax revenues. As Asia's fourth-largest economy needs more money to fund its welfare costs, some presidential candidates aiming to fill the vacuum left by impeached former leader Park Guen-hye have suggested raising the tax or cutting tax credits to corporations.

The mayor of Seongnam, one of the satellite cities of Seoul, is leading the debate. Lee Jae-myung of the center-left Democratic Party of Korea has promised to raise the corporate tax rate to 30% from 22% to fund his ambitious basic income welfare plan, which would pay 1 million won ($894) to every child and senior citizen. The lawyer-turned-politician says that the tax hike will also boost the country's tax revenue by 15 trillion won a year, helping fund the basic income plan which requires 43.6 trillion won.

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