Taipei: Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou categorically denied a report that he holds a US green card and owes the US government Tw$500,000 (US$16,556) in taxes, saying he would resign if the claim turned out to be true.

The report, appearing in a Magazine, alleged that Ma holds US permanent residency and is therefore subject to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

The law, effective from January 2014 and known worldwide as Fatca, requires US citizens, green card holders and other taxpayers abroad to report their income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US government agency responsible for tax collection and enforcement.

Ma has previously said he renounced the US green card he obtained two decades ago as a student in America, and now he swiftly rejected the magazine report.

Presidential spokeswoman Li Jia-fei told reporters, “Since it has long become invalid, the president is absolutely unlikely to pay tax to the US authority,” she said.