The proportion of companies nationwide declaring taxable income hit a new record low for the ninth consecutive year between July 1999 and June, falling to 30.7 percent from 31.6 percent a year earlier, the National Tax Administration said Thursday.

The figure is the lowest since the agency started the survey in the 1967 accounting year, the administration report says.

While the proportion of firms reporting taxable income dropped, the combined income of the 2.68 million companies nationwide rose to 38.09 trillion yen from 33.78 trillion yen the previous year, the report says.

The amount of corporate tax reported stood at some 10.55 trillion yen, down 0.9 percent from the previous year.

The tax administration investigated some 166,000 companies on suspicion of tax-reporting irregularities, down from 177,000 the previous year. About 122,000 firms were found to have underreported their income, down from 130,000.

Undeclared income totaled 1.49 trillion yen in the period, down 34.2 percent, the report says.

Penalties reached 550.7 billion yen, up 6.5 billion yen.

Bars and clubs were the worst offenders, with 57.2 percent making false tax returns, retaining the top spot for the 13th consecutive year. Pachinko parlors had the second-highest proportion, at 46.2 percent, followed by traditional taverns at 39.9 percent.

Public corporations such as religious and educational institutions, which receive generous tax treatment, failed to report a total of 14.78 billion yen in income.

Of the 24,251 public corporations that declared income, 1,122 were investigated, of which 850 were found to have underreported income.

The proportion of public corporations underreporting income was 8.7 percent, much lower than the figure of 24.8 percent for all companies, but the average amount of income they underreported was 19 million yen, higher than the 13 million yen for all companies.

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