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2014年7月13日 (日)

ふるさと納税 利用促して地域振興図りたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Donations to local governments needed to support regional revitalization
ふるさと納税 利用促して地域振興図りたい

The government is considering augmenting a system for encouraging individual donations to hometowns or municipalities the individual wants to support by offering tax deductions of an amount similar to the donation.
 故郷や応援したい自治体への寄付を促す「ふるさと納税制度」の拡充が検討されている。

Under the system, if taxpayers donate money to municipalities where they do not reside, almost the same amount is deducted from their resident and income taxes. This is tantamount to paying part of their individual taxes to the municipalities of their choice.
 現住所と違う自治体に寄付をすると、それに近い金額が住民税や所得税から差し引かれる制度だ。自分の税金の一部を、希望する自治体に納めるのと同じことになる。

The system was established in 2008 to realize the wishes of people who hail from less urban areas and want to contribute part of their taxes to their hometowns.
 納税額の一部を故郷のために役立てたい。そんな地方出身者の思いをかなえるため、2008年にスタートした。

To help push for “regional revitalization” that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted as a pillar of his growth strategy, we hope to see the system more actively utilized.
 安倍首相が成長戦略の柱に掲げる「地方創生」を後押しするためにも、ふるさと納税の利用促進が図られるよう期待したい。

Donations made under the system amounted to ¥65 billion in 2011, or nearly 10 times the figure recorded the previous year, as such donations to disaster-affected areas increased in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster that occurred in that year. But the sum plunged to ¥13 billion the following year.
 ふるさと納税による寄付額は、11年に東日本大震災の被災地向けが増え、前年の10倍近い650億円に上った。だが、12年は130億円にとどまった。

The amount of a tax cut to be offered under the system is set according to donors’ annual income and family composition, with the ceiling set at ¥30,000, for example, for a household of a married couple with an annual income of ¥5 million.
 ふるさと納税に伴う税金の軽減額は、年収500万円の夫婦2人世帯で3万円など、収入や家族構成によって上限がある。

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has indicated a plan to double the amount of the tax deduction. The plan is worth studying as a measure to break the current stagnation of such donations.
 菅官房長官はこれを2倍に引き上げる考えを示唆した。伸び悩んでいる現状を打開するため、検討に値する提案と言える。

Simplify procedures

Also problematic are the complicated procedures that must be taken to utilize the tax deduction system.
 利用する際の手続きが煩雑なことも課題である。

To receive a tax deduction in return for donations, even salaried workers whose income tax is deducted from their salary every month are required to file tax returns.
 寄付に伴う税金の軽減措置を受けるには、普段は給与天引きで納税しているサラリーマンも、確定申告する必要がある。

Many people are said to have second thoughts about using the system as they consider the procedures bothersome. The government should do its utmost to simplify the procedures needed for utilizing the system.
 これが面倒で、ふるさと納税に二の足を踏んでいる人も多いとされる。政府は簡素化に知恵を絞ってもらいたい。

Regional endeavors are essential as well. More and more municipalities have been utilizing the system to emphasize the attractive points of their areas by implementing projects such as delivering local specialties to people who made donations under the system. We sympathize with local governments’ attempts to utilize the system for promoting regional industries and tourism.
 地方の取り組みも大事だ。ふるさと納税をしてくれた人に特産品をプレゼントするなど、地元のアピールに生かしている自治体が増えている。地方の産業育成や観光振興を図る狙いは理解できる。

But it is questionable whether presents alone will be able to appeal to the hearts of people who might want to contribute to regional areas.
 ただし、特典の豪華さを競うだけで、地域の役に立ちたいと考えている人々の心を、引きつけることができるだろうか。

Individual municipalities are urged to take a positive stance toward seeking supporters of the system by explaining how they will use the donations in a comprehensible manner.
 それぞれの自治体が寄付金をどのように活用するのか、わかりやすく説明し、賛同者を募る姿勢がもっとあってよい。

The municipal government for the town of Miyashiro in Saitama Prefecture, for example, has called for donations for such projects as the conservation of rural village forests and releasing fireflies into the wild. It was reportedly successful in collecting donation money.
 例えば、埼玉県宮代町は里山の保全やホタルの放流といった事業ごとに寄付を呼びかけ、順調に資金を集めているという。

Such efforts could be used as a reference for other municipalities.
 こうした取り組みは、他の自治体の参考となろう。

The municipal government for the town of Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, has started offering a hands-on diving program in local waters as a special gift for donors.
 静岡県西伊豆町は、寄付の特典として地元の海でのダイビング体験を提供し始めた。

Providing chances for visits to regional areas by utilizing the tax deduction-for-local donation system is an effective way for municipalities to increase their supporters and promote regional development.
 ふるさと納税をきっかけに地元に足を運んでもらう機会を設けることも、ファンを増やし、地域振興につなげる有効策だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 11, 2014)

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