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在日本,捐资扶贫可抵税还能吃龙虾

更新时间:2015-6-1 19:39:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Japan, You Get a Tax Break and a Side of Lobster and Beef
在日本,捐资扶贫可抵税还能吃龙虾

HIRADO, Japan — Tax breaks come in many forms. Charitable gifts. Health care expenses. Mortgage interest payments.

日本平户市——税收优惠政策有各种各样的形式。比如慈善礼品、医疗费用和抵押贷款的利息支付。

In this small fishing village, they come in a cooler.

在这座小渔村,则是装在冰盒里送出的。

It is part of the great tax giveaway happening across Japan.

它是日本各地正在实施的大规模减税的一部分。

Taxpayers who donate money to Hirado get a nice deduction and a shipment of slipper lobsters, spiral-shelled mollusks and oysters.

给平户市捐钱的纳税人能够享受到不错的减免政策,还能得到琵琶虾、螺类和牡蛎。

Don’t like seafood? Hirado has hundreds of other thank-you gifts, like a monthly vegetable delivery, a fold-up electric bike or a wedding photo shoot with formal wear and hotel stay included.

不喜欢海鲜?平户另外还准备了数百种答谢礼物,比如每月递送的蔬菜、折叠式电动自行车,或者包含正装和酒店住宿的婚纱摄影。

Donors — 36,000 in one year — now outnumber residents.

目前,捐赠者人数已经超过了居民,一年内达到3.6万人。

“I think of them as neo-citizens,” said Hirado’s mayor, Naruhiko Kuroda.

平户市市长黑田稔彦(Naruhiko Kuroda,音)说,“我视他们为新市民。”

Exploiting a quirk in the country’s tax system, scores of towns with dwindling populations are supplementing revenue by courting outside donors. The result is a sort of adopt-a-forest program for rural communities — albeit one where the forest reciprocates with gifts.

数十座人口不断减少的城镇,正在利用日本税收系统的一个特点,通过招揽外部捐赠者增加收益。结果就产生了某种针对农村社区的认领树木项目——只不过这里代替树木的是礼品。

Local governments are offering things as diverse as marbled Wagyu beef and hot-spring vacations. Last month one city in central Japan, Bizen, attracted 56 million yen with a deal on tablet computers.

当地政府提供了多种多样的东西,其中包括有大理石般色彩纹理的神户牛肉和温泉度假游。上个月,位于日本中部的城市备前用平板电脑吸引了5600万日元(约合281万元人民币)。

The tablets were available for a donation of 100,000 yen, or about $800. After the tax rebate, the cost to donors was just 2,000 yen.

只要捐助10万日元,就可获得平板电脑。减税之后,捐助者的花费仅为2000日元。

This year, Japan sweetened the tax benefits. The government views it as a way of addressing stubborn wealth disparities between cities and the countryside.

今年,日本加大了税收优惠的力度。政府将其视为应对令人头疼的城乡财富差异的一种方式。

Critics, though, say the system has come untethered from its initial purpose, which was to allow city dwellers to support their ancestral towns. The system is known as furusato nozei, or “hometown taxation.” But there is no requirement that donors have any connection to the places, and today few actually do.

不过,批评人士称,这套名为“故乡税”(furusato nozei)制度已经偏离了最初目的,即让城市居民为他们的家乡提供支持。但是,政府不要求捐赠者与受捐赠的地方有任何关系,而且目前很少有人真的与这些地方有关。

The cost of thank-you gifts is also rising steadily as local governments compete to attract patrons — leaving less to spend on civic projects. Urban areas, where most donors live, end up bearing the cost, according to Takero Doi, a professor at Keio University, since donors’ tax write-offs subtract from other cities’ revenue. “Ultimately, it’s a zero-sum game.”

在地方政府争相吸引捐款者的同时,礼品的成本也在不断上升,这导致了市政工程支出的减少。庆应义塾大学(Keio University)教授土居丈朗(Takero Doi)说,捐款的成本最终由大多数捐款者生活的城市地区承担,由于对捐款者的减税会导致其他城市的收入减少,“这终究是一场零和博弈。”

Playing the game has been a boon for Hirado.

但这场博弈却让平户市受益无穷。

The town’s heyday was four centuries ago, when it was a bustling trading hub that drew cloth and silver merchants from as far away as Europe. Today it has a cluster of aging tourist hotels, built by overly hopeful developers in the 1970s and ’80s, that sit mostly empty. The population has dropped by half since the 1950s.

这座城市的最鼎盛时期是在四个世纪前,它当时是一座繁忙的贸易中心,吸引着远及欧洲的布料和银器商人。如今,这座城市里还有大量老旧的旅游酒店,它们都是上世纪70和80年代的开发商盲目乐观的结果,目前几乎闲置。自从上世纪50年代以来,平户市的人口已经减少了一半。

While Hirado began accepting donations soon after the program began in 2008, it only recently started to earn serious money. Taking cues from online shopping, it set up a website where donors can choose gifts and a point system to claim rewards. It takes a donation of 10,000 yen, or $84, to get the seafood delivery.

平户市在2008年项目启动之后就开始接受捐款了,但直到最近才收到一些大笔的捐赠。受到网络购物的启发,平户市设立了一个网站和积分系统,捐款者可以在网站上选择礼物,并通过积分系统要求获得奖励。捐款达1万日元就可以获赠海鲜礼包。

The town earned 1.46 billion yen in donations in its latest fiscal year, which ended in March, or about $12 million — 7 percent of its annual budget. That was the most of any local government in Japan.

这座城市在3月份结束的最新财年获得了14.6亿日元的捐款,相当于年度预算的7%,这个数字居日本各地方政府之首。

Some taxpayers are enjoying a windfall, too.

一些纳税人也尝到了甜头。

“My wife saw something about it on TV and said it would be a good way to save on taxes,” said Shigeki Kanamori, a wealthy real estate developer in Tokyo.

“我妻子在电视上看到的,她说这是节约税费的好办法,”富裕的东京房地产开发商金森茂树(Shigeki Kanamori,音)说。

Mr. Kanamori gave 3 million yen, or $25,000, to a total of about 200 municipalities. In return, he received gifts worth roughly half that amount. Out of pocket, the haul cost him just 2,000 yen, about the price of lunch at a Tokyo restaurant.

金森茂树向大约200个地方捐了300万日元。作为回报,他获得了价值相当于这个数额一半的礼物。最后算下来,这些东西总共花了他2000日元,相当于在东京的餐厅吃一顿午餐。

“My biggest problem is that my refrigerator’s full,” he said. He has written a book about where to find the best deals.

“我最大的问题是冰箱满了,”金森茂树说。他还写了本书,介绍怎样找到最划算的捐赠项目。

Mr. Kanamori expects to do even better this year. The government doubled the upper limit on tax deductions on April 1, to 20 percent of the value of the donor’s municipal tax bill. That, combined with increasingly assertive soliciting, could spur a big increase in donations, which hit 14 billion yen nationwide last year, about $113 million.

金森茂树估计今年的情况还会更好。4月1日,政府把税收减免的上限提高了一倍,增至捐赠者市政税务账单价值的20%。再加上越来越坚定的索捐呼声,可能会推动捐款数额的大幅度增加。去年,全国的捐款数额达到了140亿日元。

Some are concerned that the escalating extravagance of the thank-you gifts could hurt public support for the initiative.

有人担心,越来越昂贵的答谢礼物会损害公众对这项政策的支持。

“We want this to be a permanent fixture of the tax system, not just a kind of short-lived festival,” said Mr. Kuroda, the Hirado mayor. “I’m happy about our success, but I’m also worried.”

“我们希望它能成为税收制度的一个固定部分,而不仅仅是一个短期计划,”平户市市长黑田稔彦说。“我对我们的成功感到高兴,但我同时也很担心。”

Hirado’s gifts cost the city a little less than half the money it receives, Mr. Kuroda said. All are from local producers, he said, for an additional economic boost.

黑田稔彦说,平户市的礼物所用的花费,略低于它所获得的资金的一半。他说,这些礼物均由当地生产商提供,从而能额外促进经济发展。

But some towns are pouring 70 or 80 percent of the value of donations back into thank-you gifts, and are less focused on using local goods. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which supervises local governments, recently issued a directive calling for “self-restraint” in the selection of gifts.

但是,有些城镇把所获捐赠的70%或80%都用在了答谢礼物上,而且也不太坚持使用当地商品。管理地方政府的总务省(Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)近日发布了一项命令,呼吁各政府在挑选礼物时进行“自律”。

Defenders of the system say its merits more than make up for its flaws.

该制度的维护者称,它的好处足以弥补其缺陷。

Japan’s regions already depend heavily on outside subsidies — like revenue transfers from the central government, farm supports and public spending on rural roads and bridges. Much of the money is opaquely handled and poorly spent, experts say.

日本的一些地区已经十分依赖外部的补贴——比如中央政府下拨的资金、农业补贴,以及农村用于修建道路和桥梁的公共支出。专家称,很大一部分钱是暗箱操作,而且没有妥善支出。

In contrast, furusato nozei is more personal and transparent, according to supporters. Recipients provide a list of proposed uses for donors’ money upfront and let them choose which ones to pay for. Hideo Kishimoto, the mayor of Genkai, said the competition it fostered was healthy and was spurring local innovation.

支持者说,相比之下,“故乡税”更加个性化和透明。接收者列出一个如何使用捐款的项目清单,让捐款者自己选择为哪项用途投钱。玄海町长岸本英雄(Hideo Kishimoto)说,它所引发的竞争是有益的,激发了当地的创新。

“It’s like crowdfunding,” he said. Popular causes include child care subsidies and computers for local schools.

“这就像是众筹,”他说。受欢迎的项目包括保育补贴和为当地中小学购置电脑。

Takayuki Fukuoka, an asparagus farmer in Hirado, said he was earning about 30 percent of his income from gift requests. He said he hoped the program would open farmers’ eyes to new ways of marketing their produce, instead of relying on the monopolistic wholesale system that dominates Japanese agriculture.

在平户种植芦笋的农民福冈孝行(Takayuki Fukuoka,音)说,他30%的收入来自赠送答谢礼物产生的需求。他说,希望该项目可以让农民们发现营销作物的更多办法,不再只是依靠在日本农业占主导地位的垄断性批发系统。

“This has been a very closed-off place until now,” he said.

“迄今为止,这一直是一块封闭的领域,”他说。

Hirado town officials keep innovating. They are working on a smartphone-based system that would turn reward points into a virtual currency donors could spend at local businesses.

平户市的官员还在不断创新。他们正在开发一个基于智能手机的系统,让捐款者可以把积分转换成能在当地商家使用的虚拟货币。

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