Pacquiao should fire his financial advisers

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Friday, December 13, 2013


MANNY Pacquiao Socked by IRS: TMZ, the American celebrity news website, reported almost gleefully the other day.

The Filipino boxing icon “has 18 Million new tax problems – in addition to his $50 million tax fight in the Philippines – and this time, it’s Uncle Sam that’s trying to force Manny to pay up,” according to TMZ.

“TMZ Sports has obtained official documents which show the IRS claims Manny stiffed the government out of federal income taxes from 2006 to 2010 – totaling $18,313,668.79 in debt,” during a five-year period starting in 2006, the website added.
Here is the rest of the TMZ story:

“Interesting note – Manny had 3 big fights in 2008, including a match against Oscar de la Hoya in which MP reportedly banked $15-$30 million in guaranteed cash.

“In 2008, Manny famously fought Ricky Hatton and earned a $12-million purse.

“Manny’s U.S. tax problems come on the heels of a nasty tax war in his home country, The Philippines–where the govt., claims he evaded paying $50 million in taxes in 2008 and 2009 stemming from fights that took place in the United States.

“Philippines olfficials have frozen the bank accounts Manny has in the country– and even placed a lien on one of his most expensive properties, located in Manila.

“We reached out to Manny’s camp– so far no feedback.”

The Philippine Daily Inquirer had more success than TMZ. Reached by the Inquirer by phone, Pacquiao promptly labeled the TMZ report “as part of a demolition job” against him. “It’s not true I owe the (US Internal Revenue Service) $18 million in back taxes.”

Just a brief backgrounder on TMZ, courtesy of Wikipedia. Founded in 2005, it is owned by Time Warner. In 2006, it was the first to report the arrest of actor Mel Gibson for driving under the influence of alcohol. Another scoop was its report that Britney Spears had filed a petition for divorce against Kevin Federline.

The question is, why would TMZ engage in a demolition job against Pacquiao? When our own Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) froze Manny’s bank accounts over a similar tax problem, he and his supporters were quick to claim that he was being harassed because he is a member of the opposition.

Surely, Pacquiao is not saying that he is Republican which is why the Democrat Obama administration is persecuting him, is he?

And while many might find it too much of a coincidence that the US tax investigation would come on the heels of a similar probe in the Philippines, I do not think that the IRS and the BIR are into this together. BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said that her office had not been told by the IRS that they are “socking Pacquiao,” to quote TMZ for unpaid taxes.

The IRS has no obligation to inform the BIR that it is going after Filipinos for their tax liabilities. Neither does the BIR have any obligation to inform the IRS that it is running after Americans for the same reason, she explained.

It is possible that Pacquiao has really paid the taxes in the U.S. and that the supposed tax deficiency is actually a matter of failure in his submitting the records to the IRS. If it is so, then Pacquiao should fire all his financial advisers.

That was also what Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said he advised his House colleague.

“I advised him…to get himself a good accountant, and even better, get himself a better lawyer, and the best financial adviser that he can afford. If he is able to do that, many of his problems will disappear,” Zamora told InterAksyon, the news portal of TV5.

Not only in the United States, Zamora could have added, but also in the Philippines.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 13, 2013.

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