In the name of professionalism, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has stood pat in its decision to require doctors to post their professional fee rates in their respective clinics by January 2014 to improve tax collection.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares made the announcement during the briefing of the Department of Finance and its attached agencies such as the Bureau of Customs and the BIR before the House Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Rep. Romero Quimbo of Marikina City.
“We don’t intend to make them [rates]the wallpaper of their clinics. They should just have it posted where it is visible to the persons coming [to their clinics]. It could also be in a brochure available in their reception area, as long as the public have access on it. We will fully implement it by January 2014,” Henares pointed out before the House Ways and Means panel.
A few months back, the Department of Finance went on a media blitz with an ad that 54 percent of self-employed professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants in Makati City paid a measly P35,000 taxes in 2012—an amount lesser than the P35,952 taxes collected from a public school teacher who only earns P21,500 a month.
Henares then underscored that there is nothing wrong with the publication of the doctors’ fees because it is only professional to be transparent to their clientele and the policy does not limit the doctors’ professional fees for their expertise.
“Transparency is basic in everything. I am a lawyer, and we should come clean to our clients. This is the standard of doing business. There is no problem if one OB Gyne wants to charge P1 million and the other one wants to charge P100,000. You just have to come clean with your rates, VAT inclusive,” Henares argued.
VAT is Value Added Tax, while an OB-Gyne is an Obstetrician-Gynecologist who is the doctor for pregnancy and child birth.
“If you want to negotiate [with your patient], that’s fine. But with posting the rate as a requirement, you become more professional because there is no more haggling if somebody comes to you,” Henares added.
Further, Henares disclosed that the BIR is also bent on improving collection on real estate taxes by setting its eagle eyes on those in the Forbes Magazine’s top 50 richest individuals, the top 500 taxpayers in the country per the BIR and those parents who sale their property to their children.
“We look on the capability of the children to buy the property [of their parents]. If they do not have the capacity, then there is prima facie case for tax evasion,” Henares said in closing. LLANESCA T. PANTI