A pack of cigarettes to be NT$20 more expensive to fund long-term care plan

45.9 percent of the vendors sold cigarettes to the buyers without first checking their identification cards (By Central News Agency)

Taipei (Taiwan News)--Local smokers will have to pay NT$20 more for every pack of cigarettes they buy to help fund the operation of Taiwan’s long-term elderly care plan after a new regulation passed in the Legislature on Wednesday takes effect in the near future.   

An amendment to the Long-term Care Services Act was passed on Wednesday that provides a legal basis for increasing the inheritance tax, gift tax and tobacco tax to help fund the country’s long-term elderly care system.  

According to the amendment, both the inheritance tax and gift tax will be increased from 10 percent to 20 percent, and the tobacco tax will be increased from NT$590 per 1,000 cigarettes to NT$1,590 per 1,000 cigarettes, which means a price hike of NT$20 per pack of cigarettes.

(Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan signals the passage of the bill.)

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yu-chin said that President Tsai Ing-wen hopes that the long-term care 2.0 plan will have an annual fund of NT$33 billion (about US$1 billion) to finance its operation.

The Ministry of Finance estimated that the tax hikes will contribute about NT$28.8 billion to the fund, and that will add to the NT$17.7 billion budget already set aside for the operation of the plan in 2017, she said. Therefore, the new long-term care plan will have a fund totaling between NT$30 billion and NT$40 billion to operate, she added.