DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima called on the country’s certified public accountants to step up and work with the government to improve tax compliance, particularly the continuing decline of tax collections from self-employed professionals.
“You have a very noble profession. I used to practice the same profession and it’s time for us to work together to bring this profession to a higher level,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said this week during the Induction ceremonies of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The finance chief highlighted that the government has been able to increase budgets of various departments with only improved tax effort without imposing new taxes. However, tax effort at 13% is still low compared to the country’s ASEAN neighbours and lagging behind the 16% tax effort goal for 2016.
“You can help by making sure every accounting book reflected real numbers from real transactions, by not allowing anyone to pay for your signature to cheat on their accounting books,” the finance chief said. “But more importantly, acknowledge your profession by registering with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and pay the correct taxes.”
According to DOF data on the taxes paid by the self-employed and professionals, there are only 297 accountants in Makati City who filed returns and paid taxes in the regional district offices (RDOs) in 2012. Of these accountants, 58% paid less than P60,000 in 2012. Quezon City’s Top 1000 Taxpayers only included eight accountants who paid P901.1 million in total for 2012.
“My fellow accountants, I am here because you have a very important role. You need to step up and do what is necessary to make sure that evading taxes, cheating and smuggling will be so much more difficult. That is a question of respect; this is a question of establishing the right moral basis of relationships,” Purisima ended the speech.
Purisima also emphasized that professionals in other industries must be more cognizant of how their roles can affect the country’s future.
“Tax evasion hurts us so much and it’s in the heart of our problem as a society in dire need of improved social services. This is our war. This is your war. And this should be very personal for you,” Purisima added.
Last March, Purisima also called on the country’s successful bar examinees to be role models by pay the right taxes, help in cleaning up the tax process, and not help future clients evade taxes.