• Kyodo

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The Tax Commission agreed Wednesday to set up tax-relief measures for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan is planning to submit the bills together with the draft of an extra budget for fiscal 2011 aimed at financing reconstruction work to the Diet this month.

The special measures involve steps to free victims in severely damaged areas from paying fixed asset taxes on their homes and real estate during the year through next March.

The commission also proposed allowing those whose cars were lost to buy new ones without paying vehicle acquisition taxes, extending mortgage tax breaks to destroyed homes, and refunding corporate taxes to affected companies.

The panel says it can’t calculate the potential hit to national tax revenues from the steps because the damage is still being tallied.

The commission was unable to agree on a proposal for abolishing a clause in a tax law that currently allows the government to cut gasoline taxes as an emergency step to prevent prices from climbing once they pass certain levels. The proposal reflects widespread concerns that gasoline has not been fully supplied for restoration work in quake-hit areas.

Proponents of abolishing the “trigger clause” say that allowing gas prices to keep rising at a time when crude oil prices are climbing will discourage consumers from purchasing gasoline for general purposes, such as leisure driving, and facilitate procurement in disaster regions.

The commission decided to leave the decision to Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who heads the panel, and its executive members.

The Tax Commission agreed Wednesday to set up tax-relief measures for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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