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President vows to resign if designated a U.S. taxpayer (update)
Central News Agency
2014-05-14 09:26 PM
Taipei, May 14 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday that he will resign if it is determined that he must pay taxes in the United States as reported by a local magazine, according to Garfie Li, a spokeswoman for the president. If it is found, however, that Ma is not required to pay U.S. taxes, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang and other DPP heavyweights should apologize to Ma and all of Taiwan's citizens for their criticisms of the president based on the Wednesday report in Next Magazine, Li said. Li told a press briefing that Ma has no reason to pay U.S. taxes as Ma's green card, which was obtained when he studied and worked in the U.S., was automatically invalidated and has not been used for more than 20 years. She said a green card, which grants aliens residency in the United States, is rendered invalid if the card holder is absent from the U.S. for one year or more, citing statements from American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesman Mark Zimmer and former AIT Director Douglas H. Paal. Zimmer told reporters Wednesday afternoon that based on information from the Beijing office of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Ma was not the person identified in the Next Magazine report. He said, however, that he is not at liberty to discuss the validity of any individual person's U.S. green card. According to Taiwan's Nationality Act, a national who acquires nationality in another country forfeits the right to hold any government office in Taiwan. The magazine report Wednesday said that Ma is obligated to pay taxes to the U.S. because he still holds a green card, even though he had said in 2008 when he was running for president that his green card was no longer valid. The report said it had provided Ma's English name as "Mark Y. J. Ma," his birth date and his green card serial number in an e-mail to the IRS office in Beijing to inquire if the president is required to pay taxes in the U.S. The IRS office apparently replied with a statement Tuesday saying that Ma is a U.S. taxpayer and must provide his offshore accounts for reference, the report said. According to the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, all overseas U.S. citizens and green card holders are required to pay taxes in the U.S. from July 1, 2014. Responding to the magazine report, the DPP's Su questioned Ma's credibility and called the president "an extraordinary shame and humiliation." He called for Ma to step down immediately, saying the president is no longer eligible to lead the country. Former DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun said Ma was "an international joke," while former Premier Frank Hsieh of the DPP said the president was politically bankrupt. (By Kelven Huang and Jeffrey Wu)
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