Trouble with taxes

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WHEN one comes down to the nitty-gritty of ongoing problems, controversies, probes and crisscrossing, top-to-bottom inquiries at different levels of our national governance, we come face-to-face with the issue of taxes. It would seem as if everyone, as a matter of knee-jerk reaction, look for ways to dodge the payment.

Don’t look at us who are mere workers and own no businesses or big corporations. In our case, government collects taxes in advance from us. In fact, if it happens that the government has over-collected from you, you get reimbursed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

That is how courteous the BIR is to taxpayers. It may take the BIR some time to do so, but it does. It collects even from senior citizens.

In any case, I think one of the best national games big-income citizens and moneyed people in our country like to play, and are playing almost every year, is playing “dodge” with the BIR.

I recall the time when I was still a kid in knee pants when one of my favorite games was called “dodge ball,” that is you dodge from the home-made ball thrown at you by playmates. If you get hit, it would be your turn to hit them.

This is the way it is with the payment of taxes to the government. Those who have so much to pay would naturally--as a matter of human reaction--try to find a way to pay less or dodge paying entirely. Whether it is your obligation to do so as a matter of duty to government and country, one always try to find the means to pay smaller taxes.

Thus, it should not really surprise any or all of us if there are people, regardless of who they are in life, who play dodge with BIR.

And we should not also be surprised that the big, troubling issues in the country are about the pork barrel and the most recent one about Manny Pacquiao. All of these have something to do with taxes.

The pork barrel, for instance, is tax money appropriated as allowances to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. It has been alleged that the pork barrel has been a center of corruption.

Now, the full-blown controversy about the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel has reached the Supreme Court and has also involved the Ombudsman.

A parallel case called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) involves the Office of the President.

DAP is also people’s money appropriated so much like the PDAF but handled by the Palace and at the discretion of President Noynoy Aquino. This sort of made the Palace and Congress even in the way they are using the people’s taxes.

Cases of plunder have been filed before the Ombudsman in relation to the PDAF and the Commission on Audit chief is being pressured by a senator about the DAP. It calls to my mind a dance called “ring around the roses.”

But really, the problem is all about taxes, and how we are handling our people’s hard-earned money.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 05, 2013.


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