DOF sees need to monitor tax groups

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There is a need to monitor statistics specific to different taxpaying groups to broaden the tax base of the government, according to the Department of Finance.

“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,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

He added that the government also wants to raise awareness about tax payments and ask the public if the numbers make sense.

Purisima highlighted a number of examples from analyses of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collections that signified areas for improvement and increased vigilance.

He 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 [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas] supervises 6,301? The average tax payment for pawnshops also went down from P363,085 in 2011 to P315,812 in 2012,” Purisima said.

He 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.

Purisima added that Binindo’s average tax payment is lower than the average tax payment of restaurants in Baguio, Tarlac, Legaspi City and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

“In Palawan, we only have 47 restaurants that paid taxes, and those restaurants paid P353,000 on average. But data from DOT [Department of Tourism] says that Palawan arrivals have increased dramatically since the Underground River was registered as one of the seven natural wonders of the world,” Purisima said.

Furthermore, Purisima point-ed out that while the BIR has managed an impressive performance in collection of income taxes, collections of value-added tax (VAT) lagged.

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