Tax season

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By Benjie R. Pangan

At Close Range

Sunday, March 9, 2014


DEATH, like taxes, said someone, is inevitable and both are great levelers. It (tax) spares no one of the tax-paying age and it comes as a duty for the privilege of living in an organized society.

Whether we like it or not, we are beneficiaries of the services the government dispenses with.

It is therefore rather surprising to hear some gripes from some groups that they are at the receiving end of a so-called shame campaign by the government agency tasked to collect from the revenues of its citizens -the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

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Professionals are frowned upon by the BIR as tax cheats despite their huge income. Call it complacency on their part but they are not exempt from filing their returns and paying the corresponding taxes. Boxers of international stature and actors with plenty and frequent movies and endorsements are well within the radar of the BIR. These activities are closely monitored and factored in the computation of their taxes due.

Salaried employees, specifically the teachers, are the group most watched by the BIR and, surely, they are taxed strictly. No wonder they are most vocal against perceived tax cheats.

The BIR periodically publishes names and photos of the country's top taxpayers and for good measure. This would encourage those not listed to try their damned best to make it to the list the next time around.

The BIR is encountering shortfalls in targets. Why? Maybe the targets set are way too high its capacity to collect or perhaps its efforts are not enough. Why fear the BIR? The attitude should be one of complementary to its efforts to meet its goals. After all, taxes are the lifeblood of the country's economy.

It had to resort to the so-called shaming campaign and use various tactics to lure out those who are perceived not filing their returns and paying their correct taxes. If the BIR would only look deeper into the ranks of professionals and discover more who are remiss in this duty. Or better still, coordinate with the Professional Regulation Commission and hit paydirt. Surely, there are plenty of professionals who dont have the habit of filing their returns and afterwards are hesitant to pay taxes. The BIR can start from there.

*****

International Women’s month. We celebrate here in the Philippines the month honoring our women. I think the activity started last March 8 by paying tribute to women achievers who like their male counterparts have made a difference in their respective fields of endeavor and discipline.

In Mabalacat City and in the whole province, 1st District Board Member Cherry Manalo led in the tribute for her fellow women achievers and rightfully distinguished themselves. According to her it is about time we gave equal footing to women, the indigenous people included and give them the chance to prove their worth.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 10, 2014.

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