Korea has been alarmed over the ever-worsening fiscal balance, as the government's fiscal deficit reached a record-high level due to its expansionary spending to revive the nation's sluggish economy.
According to a study released by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Korea's consolidated public fiscal balance, which is one of the key barometers measuring national soundness, posted a deficit of 26.5 trillion won ($22.9 billion) between January and September.
It was the highest deficit level for the first nine months of the year on a year-on-year basis.
Consolidated public fiscal balance is the sum of tax revenue and returns from public and social fund management.
The September balance was a bit improved from its January-to-June figure of 38.5 trillion won, but the operating fiscal balance, another indicator excluding the four major social welfare funds from the consolidated balance, hit a record-high deficit of 57 trillion won in the period.
National tax revenue jumped 300 billion won year-on-year to 359.9 trillion won in the January-to-September period, but the government spent 386 trillion won in the period.
"The government provided earned income and child tax credits for those in low-income brackets in the period. This increased the deficit," said a ministry official in the study.
"The government has provided 5 trillion won worth of the tax benefits for 4.7 million households so far this year."
In September alone, the nation's tax revenue was tallied at 18.6 trillion won in September, 1.9 trillion won less compared with a year earlier.
Income tax revenue amounted to 2.5 trillion won in September, down 1.2 trillion won from 2018, due to a rise in wages.
Dues collected by companies fell 700 billion won year-on-year to reach 9.4 trillion won in the one-month period, the ministry said.