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Korea - Overview and introduction

Korea - Overview and introduction

Taxation of international executives


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Individuals are classified either as resident or non-resident taxpayers. Resident taxpayers are taxed on their worldwide income. However, tax residents in Korea of foreign nationality who have had a domicile or place of residence in Korea for five years or less in aggregate in the previous ten years ending on the last date of the tax year concerned, will not be subject to Korean income tax in relation to their foreign-source income attributable to that tax year unless the income is paid in or remitted to Korea. Non-resident taxpayers are taxed only on Korean sources of income.

Income tax is calculated by applying a progressive tax rate schedule from 6 percent to 42 percent (exclusive of the local income tax that is 10 percent of the income tax amount) to taxable income1.

As a result of the international environment and the large expatriate community in Korea, the income tax law incorporates a number of special features, including a distinction between employment income borne by a Korean entity and employment income borne by a non-Korean entity.

A separate tax calculation must be made for each of the three major income categories: composite income, retirement income, and capital gains income. Each category has a unique tax base and/or rate structure.

The official currency of Korea is the Korean (South) Won (KRW).

Herein, the host country refers to the country where the expatriate is going on assignment. The home country refers to the country where the expatriate lives when he/she is not on assignment.

© 2019 Samjong Accounting Corp, a Korea Limited Liability Corporation and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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