The Taijimen tax protests I posted about previously are still ongoing. The protesters seem to have lots of money to spend on leaflets. Normally leafleteers ignore me and give leaflets only to Taiwanese people, but this guy was very keen to shove this into my hand:
“When taxation is the only objective of the government, what will be left for the next generation?” “Let’s protect taxation human rights together”
Since I started working near Taipei Main Station there have always been tax protests outside the Control Yuan, but over the last few weeks, there has been a much bigger presence and the mention of Taijimen 太極門, which is (in name at least) a qigong institute.
Hung Shi-he (洪石和), the leader of Taijimen, who goes by the alias Hung Tao-zi (洪道子), was fined NT$28 million for allegedly failing to pay over NT$10 million in taxes on income from 1991 to 1995. He appealed the fine with the National Tax Administration and his appeal was denied. He then launched an administrative appeal against the National Tax Administration decision at the Taichung High Court (104年度訴字第228號), which was rejected. He then appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court (107年度判字第422號), and the original verdict was overturned and it was sent back to the Taichung High Court and the case (107 年度 訴更一 字第 19 號和解筆錄) was subsequently settled. He has also been involved in a series of other cases, which you can search for by entering his name 洪石和 into the court verdict database. It’s actually quite fun to trace back all of his re-appeals to his appeals.
And the topic is still very much alive, as this article in ET Today suggested that 52 pieces of real estate in his name in Miaoli were being auctioned off at the end of last month.
There was a modest protest outside the Control Yuan yesterday with people handing out flyers like the one below:
According to their leaflets, all the tax owed has been adjusted to zero, except for 1995. I haven’t had time to sift through all the cases on the website to verify the info yet.
There has been quite a lot of news coverage (update here) recently about passport application/renewal delays in the UK due to staffing shortages at the passport office as a result of the pandemic.
Many people overseas have to have a valid passport as a condition of their residence in their second country, so I thought it would be handy to post this to give people an idea of turnaround times, especially as the passport office will advise you to come back at a later date due to COVID-19 if you are not travelling during the summer.
The passport renewal website is pretty easy to use and states what you need quite clearly. I would advise going to a photo booth that allows you to save the passport photo online as taking a good photo with a mobile phone is pretty difficult. The cost of the passport is £86 plus a £19.86 courier fee, as well as whatever it costs you to mail your passport to the UK office (I spent NT$390 or roughly £10 for signed delivery of my old passport and a colour-photocopy of my other nationality passport).
July 18, 2020: I filled in the online form with a digital photo.
July 19: Email prompting me to send my documents.
July 20, 2020: I mailed my old passport and a colour photocopy of my second nationality passport.
17:00 July 28: Parcelforce stated that the parcel arrived at the Liverpool HMPO.
July 29: Email prompting me to send my documents and notice informing me that due to COVID-19 I should receive my passport in 8 weeks.
August 2: Email prompting me to send my documents.
August 14: The office acknowledged receipt of my documents.
August 16: Notice of application being processed.
October 19: Application approved and passport ready for printing. (9 weeks and 1 day from notice of application being processed; 11 weeks and 6 days since Parcelforce delivered the parcel to Liverpool HMPO).
October 21: Notification that passport has been printed and sent.
October 26: Received old voided passport in the mail.
October 30: Received new passport in the mail.
That’s 3 months and and 11 days (104 days) from filling in the online form and posting the documents to receiving the passport, and 3 months and 2 days (94 days) from when ParcelForce stated they delivered my documents to receiving my passport and 2 months and 16 days (77 days) from acknowledgement of receipt of documents to receiving my passport.