The Korean National Tax Service will be investigating celebrities who are evading taxes using loopholes in the system.
It has been reported that in order to avoid taxes, celebrities will register their buildings under the name of a real estate corporation they established or find a loophole in the system by listing the property as gifts to children. This practice has been criticized as public records for building owners can be easily found. Celebrities such as Lee Byung Hun, Kwon Sang Woo, Han Hyo Joo, Kim Tae Hee, and more have not purchased buildings in their own name but under corporations. By purchasing real estate as a corporation, celebrities can reduce acquisition, capital gains, and rental income tax, nor do they pay comprehensive real estate taxes that private owners pay. Although this behavior is not illegal, it is clear that these methods are utilizing loopholes to avoid paying taxes.
According to MBC's 'PD Note', the addresses of the established real estate corporations would be listed in regions that are not in Seoul in order to receive more tax cuts. Lee Byung Hyun purchased a building worth 26 billion KRW (21.2 million USD) in Yeongeungpo, Seoul but bought the building under the name of a family corporation listed in Gyeongido. Kim Tae Hee purchased a 13.2 billion KRW (10.7 million USD) building in Gangnam, Seoul but her corporation was listed in Gyeongido as well. In Kim Tae Hee's case, she was able to save 920 million KRW (750 thousand USD) in taxes due to this method.
The National Tax Service has launched investigations into 27 of these types of corporations, but there are said to be thousands left to review. An official from the organization has stated that this subject is not a blind spot, but rather an area that needs to be managed strictly.