Taipei to implement economic relief measures for Wuhan virus

Short-term relief measures will prevent businesses from shutting down in next six months.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan’s COVID-19 cases have escalated in recent days, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) announced on Wednesday six economic relief measures to respond to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

The mayor's new measures include “time extensions to file tax returns,” “rent reduction,” “price reduction,” “interest rate cuts,” “subsidies,” and “tax cuts,” UDN reported.

Ko said that judging from the evolving situation of COVID-19 around the world, the pandemic will not resolve itself quickly.

The mayor added that the short-term relief measures are being put in place to prevent businesses from shutting down, which would cause a great number of workers to lose their jobs in the next six months. As for a mid-term plan, Ko referred to a multi-billion dollar relief package that the central government is putting forth.

Based on the six measures the city is putting in place, businesses that have lost 15 percent of their revenue are given an extension of 12 months to file their tax returns. Rents for city-owned realty have been cut in half since March 1 for as long as the pandemic situation warrants.

Water prices for businesses are being cut by 15 percent and by 50 percent for hospitals and hotels designated for quarantine purposes. A hotel subsidy of NT$7,000 will be given to individuals who are isolated or quarantined at home or to their families if they stay at a hotel. Other measures in this category include extending subsidies to tour bus and rental car operators.

New tax cuts includes a property tax cut from 2 percent to 3 percent for businesses whose operations are reduced or suspended as well as a tax cut for amusement industry businesses losing money in the pandemic.