Finance Chief: Tax Evaders “Cannot Hide” From Henares
Broadening the tax base has always been a goal of Secretary of Finance Cesar V. Purisima. The finance chief however stressed the need to monitor statistics specific to different taxpaying groups.
“As part of our tax watch campaign to increase transparency in tax payments and ask our citizenry to be conscientious in paying the right taxes, we will be regularly revealing insights about payments from taxpayers in various classifications,” Purisima said.
“We want to raise awareness about tax payments and ask the public if the numbers we observe make sense.”
While the Bureau of Internal Revenue notched a 7-percent year-on-year increase in the number of income tax filers from 2011 to 2012, Purisima also highlighted a number of examples from analyses of BIR collections that signified areas for improvement and increased vigilance.
Purisima noted the anomalous nature of the tax base of pawnshops to illustrate the need for reconciled statistics.
“Why is it that we have 5,230 pawnshops that paid in 2012, but the BSP supervises 6,301? The average tax payment for pawnshops also went down from P363,085 in 2011 to P315,812 in 2012,” Purisima said.
The finance secretary noted that questionable tax statistics could be found all over the Philippines, especially in some of its popular tourist traps.
“In Binondo, based on BIR records, there are only 120 registered restaurants. The interesting thing is, the average tax they paid in 2012 was P156,780, which is actually a decrease from 2010 of P222,000,” Purisima said, referring to the crowded home of popular Chinatown eateries.
“This average is lower than the average tax payment of restaurants in Baguio, Tarlac, Legaspi City, and the Cordillera Administrative Region. Is that right?”
“In Palawan, we only have 47 restaurants that paid taxes, and those restaurants paid P353,000 on average. But data from DOT says that Palawan arrivals have increased dramatically since the Underground River was registered as one of the seven natural wonders of the world,” Purisima added.
The Finance Secretary also pointed out that while the BIR has managed an impressive performance in collection of income taxes, collections of value-added tax (VAT) lagged.
“Between 2009 and 2012, income tax collection from corporations increased by 46%. Income tax from wage-earners increased by 63%. VAT collection only increased by 19% over that period, so there is much room for improvement on VAT,” added the finance chief.
Statistical analysis has also revealed promising results from the implementation of the recently passed Sin Tax Law.
“Excise tax collections from ‘sin’ products from January to May of 2013 are up 32%, despite the fifty percent drop in tobacco removals,” Purisima said.
Purisima left with words of advice for those who persisted in their efforts to evade tax collection.
“You can run, but you cannot hide from Commissioner Henares.”