Tax revenue is the major source from which government’s budget revenue and is very important to sustain the need of government’s public expenditure. The increasing expenditure caused by satisfying the citizen’s desire of sufficient and better local government’s services on education, culture, transportation, social welfare, environmental control, public health, police, and fire protection etc., as well as the shortage of tax income caused by economic depression and the tax deduction policy of the central government had seriously deteriorated the budget deficit of the local government. In 2002, our government announced to put into practice the Local Taxation Law that empowers the local government with autonomous right to levy the local taxes. Under the current situation of economic depression, how to create new sources of tax revenue to improve the budget deficit demands an immediate attention of the local government of Kaohsiung County.
This study first investigates the fundamental theory of local tax, our local tax system, and local tax system of other countries to obtain the principles and feasible taxing items of imposing local tax. Secondly, this study uses secondary data to analyze the financial situation of Kaohsiung County and to research on the reasons of the financial problems and difficulty to understand the justification of tax hike. Thirdly, an in-depth interview to the head and deputy of finance department and county councilor was conducted to collect data. Through the literature study, secondary data analysis, and interview results to construct the questionnaire structure. Lastly, we conducted a research in Delphi Technique by sending questionnaire to Kaohsiung County councilor, tax personnel, finance personnel, and accounting personnel to study the perception and attitude of the interviewee towards to imposing new tax, appropriate new tax items, timing for imposing new tax, the problems we are facing and the strategy of resolving the problems. Throughout the activities mentioned above, this study consolidates and summarizes some conclusions as follows:
1. Our country has fewer local tax items and has room to expand compared to foreign countries. Besides, it has been years Kaohsiung County has had budget deficit. All tax income is not even enough to pay for personnel expenses. Having new tax revenue is necessary and reasonable.
2. After the passage of Local Taxation law, local tax is split into two categories. One is nation-wide local tax and the other is initiated by the local government. Expanding tax sources can be done in two ways at the same time. For one, nation -wide local tax shall meet the principles of sufficiency and stability of taxation. Specifically, an overall review on the current local tax system should be conducted. That includes the revoke of unreasonable tax reduction and increase of publicly announced land prices. By doing so, we can meet the finance demands from local governments. For two, local government can create new taxes that meet the principle of equity, neutrality, and benefit-receive. Specifically, local government can impose taxes with designated purposes of use, establishing the link between people’s interests and burdens and meeting the special demand of local government finance. Combining these two ways shall solve the problem of insufficient tax.
3. The interviewees are highly recognized the implication of fiscal autonomy to the local government and are positively support the local governments to raise their financial resources via a systematic and reasonable taxation on new items of local tax.
4. The legislative body is not totally against the tax add and it possibly be approved as long as the local governments still can not resolve the budget deficit problem via it’s efforts on minimizing the expenditure.
5. New taxations on certain residents or enterprises within a county might be considered as long as these earmarked tax revenue is used for designate purposes. New taxes that are suitable for Kaohsiung County to impose are Quarry Tax, Pollution Tax, and Peddler License Tax, in that order.
6. Local government should take three important actions to increase the willingness of the citizen to pay taxes and reduce the impact of tax add. First is to explain in public the benefits and purposes of the tax add and disclose the usage details of the new tax revenue. Second is to preclude from squandering tax revenue. Third is to increase the qualities of public services and facilities.
7. Imposing new taxes can help to achieve the objectives of increasing income sources and hence improving finance. It also helps to establish the link between public expenses and people’s tax burden. That link will keep people from having the thoughts of “ free of charge” and wasting public resources. However, Facing with the problem that elected officials have no intentions to push tax increase, it is necessary to establish elected chief’s sense of responsibility for finance. The central government should take the efforts the local government makes to taxation, the financial deficit, and the debt into the rating of the competitiveness of all local governments. The rating results should be open to the public to encourage the local government to aggressively find new tax sources.