Who has the right to tax your pimple outbreak? In South Korea, it is the finance ministry.
Beginning of February, a new tax system that imposes a 10-percent tax on surgeries having to do with appearance and beauty will go into effect in South Korea. This so-called beauty tax not only includes well-known plastic surgeries such as nose job, double-jaw surgery or lip augmentation, but also ordinary skin care, such as acne treatment.
New taxation which was introduced last summer claims that it would rein in the country's rampant cosmetic surgeries, but it has been widely unpopular from the moment of its proposal. Critics argue [ko] that the scheme is simply a plan to increase tax revenue decorated as a public health law. Several web users pointed out [ko] that the tax won't tackle society's obsession with looks and people who have the means or who desperately want such procedures will not be affected.
One the eve of the plan going into effect, one tax – 10 percent on pimple treatments – seems to have rekindled people's opposition to the bill. Below are some tweets from frustrated net users:
여드름 탈모만 해도 속상한데, 세금까지 내라니..
— 마왕_질풍노동의 시기 (@everyyoga) January 28, 2014
As if it is not bad enough to have acne and hair loss. Now, we have to pay a tax for having those.
세금 거둘 곳 찾던 하이에나가 여드름을 발견하다!
— 대타 (@lizinhaisenDT) December 31, 2013
The hyenas prowling, looking for things to tax, finally found the item – pimples!
기획재정부가 뭔데 내 여드름에 세금을 매겨? @mosfkorea
— Nikolay (@AccountantInLaw) January 22, 2014
To @mosfkorea [the official account of Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance]: Who do you think you are to tax my pimples?
그러니까 기획재정부측은 여드름이 피부질환이라 치부하지 않으며 치료를 할 경우 ‘미용목적'으로 판단하여 성형과 동일하게 세금을 떼감 이 소린가?..성형도 세금 붙는다는 소리에 어이가 없었는데 아니 목적이전에 세금 그만떼가 이놈들아
— 논노 (@nonno_okama) January 22, 2014
So the Ministry of Strategy and Finance's logic is this: Since they don't think acne is a serious case of skin disease, whatever that cure the acne problem is categorized as a “beauty-related” surgery, it will be taxed. It was ridiculous enough to hear about the tax on cosmetic surgery and now this! Whatever the reason you give, will you just please stop taxing more?
The medical community seems enraged by the news as well. The Korean Medical Association circulated the poster below explaining their frustration. The first sentence in bold letter laments that it is not the medical professionals, but the finance ministry who is making a judgement call on how to understand acne – not as a serious skin condition, but as a beauty-related inconvenience. Net users shared the image via Twitter and made fun of the current government's economic motto of “Creative Economy”, one user even invoking current President Park Geun-hye's notorious nickname “chicken”:
여드름에 세금을 매기다니….창조적이다 pic.twitter.com/YWENpeB94g
— 정남자 (@darkrunar) January 22, 2014
Taxing pimples… That is indeed “Creative”.
피부과 시술에 붙는 부가세 너무하다. 여드름 환자들은 안그래도 비싼 치료비에 제대로된 치료 한번 받을려면 큰맘먹고 해야된다. 그런 환자들 대부분이 사춘기 청소년이나 20대초반이다. 닭정부의 창조경제는 창조세금이었다.ㅋㅋ
— EB (@DarlTea) January 23, 2014
Imposing an additional tax on skin treatment is bit too much. Acne patients are already paying considerable amounts of money to get proper treatment. And most of them are either teenagers in puberty or in their early 20s. It turns out that the chicken administration's “creative economy” actually means “creative ways to tax things”.
@tonarino_hayoon 우리 나라만큼 외모따지는 사회풍조도 없는데 사실 저런거에 일일히 세금떼가는거 웃겨요 니들이 그렇게 만들어놓고 돈은 왜 뜯어가…
— 논노 (@nonno_okama) January 22, 2014
There is no country like ours where society is completely obsessed with looks. And the ones who helped shaped our society into how it this now tax each item related to enhancing ones look. This is ridiculous.
우와.이젠 손톱관리나 몸매관리에도 세금 붙이시지요?여드름 난 게 죄입니깤ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
— 최강사약러디노 (@dino_quality) January 21, 2014
Wow… How far will they go? Will the next step be taxing nail care and body slimming? It is not a sin to have some pimples.