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Tax delinquents to face tough new measures in Urasoe City

Date Posted: 2007-02-01

People who don’t pay their tax bills in Urasoe City will soon find themselves on foot.

The city, tired of tax delinquents cheating taxpayers out of billions of yen, is turning to tire locks to get the bad guys’ attention. Beginning in April, the city will slap the tire locks on cars and motorcycles, locking them and preventing them from being driven. Urasoe City will then release the tire locks only after the tax bills are paid.

Urasoe City wants to improve its collections on Prefectural taxes, city taxes, property taxes, automobile tax and a national health insurance tax. The municipal government has always made telephone calls and sent letters to taxpayers, reminding them of what is owed. Many have failed to respond, forcing the city to take stronger measures.

An official says Urasoe City has always been compassionate with those who are destitute, working with them to pay taxes on an installment plan. It granted permission for them to drive their vehicles during such economic tough times.

It’s the deadbeats who don’t respond that the city wants now. There will be no leniency on having tire locks slapped on, says a city official. And if that’s not enough, the city says it will begin impounding savings accounts, salaries, insurance policies and more. “If I think about fairness of taxes,” says one official, “there should be no way for tax defaulters to get away.” He says the city will also confiscate pictures, jewelry or even property mortgages as payment. He says the goods and property will be auctioned off, perhaps by internet, to make restitution to the city government.

Officials say only 90.9% of city taxes are being paid, while only 95.41% of national health insurance payments are being made. He said there are currently 1,100 cases of city taxes being in arrears, while 1,711 instances of unpaid national health insurance are being examined for collection.

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