In the foreland area of western Taiwan, some of the pre-orogenic basement-involved normal faults were reactivated during the subsequent compressional tectonics. The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the role played by the pre-existing normal faults in the recent tectonics of western Taiwan. In NW Taiwan, reactivated normal faults with a strike-slip component have developed by linkage of reactivated single pre-existing normal faults in the foreland basin and acted as transverse structures for low-angle thrusts in the outer fold-and-thrust belt. In the later stage of their development, the transverse structures were thrusted and appear underneath the low-angle thrusts or became tear faults in the inner fold-and-thrust belt. In SW Taiwan, where the foreland basin is lacking normal fault reactivation, the pre-existing normal faults passively acted as ramp for the low-angle thrusts in the inner fold-and-thrust belt. Some of the active faults in western Taiwan may also be related to reactivated normal faults with right-lateral slip component. Some main earthquake shocks related to either strike-slip or thrust fault plane solution occurred on reactivated normal faults, implying a relationship between the pre-existing normal fault and the triggering of the recent major earthquakes. Along-strike contrast in structural style of normal fault reactivation gives rise to different characteristics of the deformation front for different parts of the foreland area in western Taiwan. Variations in the degree of normal fault reactivation also provide some insights into the way the crust embedding the pre-existing normal faults deformed in response to orogenic contraction.