ASIA: South Korea Cracking Down on Offshore Tax Evasion.

(Yonhap News) -- South Korea's tax agency said Tuesday that it will beef up its crackdown on offshore tax evasion by local companies and individuals as part of efforts to boost fair taxation.

The National Tax Service (NTS) will also probe tax evasion by non-profit organizations run by conglomerates.

The NTS collected 1.32 trillion won (US$1.23 billion) in taxes from suspected offshore tax evaders last year, slightly more than the 1.3 trillion won worth of dues collected the previous year.

Offshore tax evasion has been on the rise in recent years, as some wealthy people have shifted their assets to tax havens in an apparent move to exploit legal loopholes.

The NTS also said it will hold off conducting audits against businesses run by those who are self-employed as they are struggling with rising costs and stagnant sales.

Some 5.7 million small shops and stores run by self-employed workers will not be subject to tax probes this year and next year.

The measures came as such self-employed businesspersons are trying to cope with a hike in costs stemming from a rise in the country's legal minimum wage and stagnant revenue growth.

The NTS said it will not check taxation reports of such businesses.