The Gokongweis, the Sys and their income tax payments


Emeterio Sd. Perez

BUSINESSMAN John Gokongwei Jr. and his son, Lance, were among the Philippines’ 500 top income taxpayers for taxable year 2014, according to a listing released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) through its website. The father landed at No. 159 and Lance at No. 218.

The BIR attributed an income tax payment of P14,302,132 to John, the father, and P11,823,378 to Lance. Like its other reports in previous years, it omitted a sixth column in its table, which should have told the public the basis of BIR’s tax payment computations.

To provide the readers of The Manila Times how BIR arrived at the tax payments of the two Gokongweis, Due Diligencer did some computations based on BIR’s formula. The results showed the older Gokongwei’s taxable income at P44,803,537. Lance’s taxable income, on the other hand, amounted to P37,057,431.

Due Diligencer’s computations are only tentative and intended to illustrate to our readers how the BIR could have come out with the table of top income tax payers and their respective payments. It is unfortunate for the public to have been denied the privilege of knowing the wealth of the rich and famous.

Incidentally, as chairman emeritus of JG Summit Holdings Inc., Gokongwei was among the five highest-paid executives of the holding company.

In 2016, JG Summit paid Gokongwei and four other members of his family P140,818,127, divided into salaries, P136,831,377; bonuses, P3.2 million; and others, P786,750. This year, it said it would increase the group’s pays and perks to P148.191 million consisting of salaries, P144,204,250; bonuses, P3.2 million; and others, P786,750.

Sy, the patriarch

Businessman Henry Sy Sr. is chairman of the board of SM Investments Corp. (SMIC). He is also honorary chairman of China Banking Corp. and chairman emeritus of BDO Unibank Inc.

In taxable year 2014, the older Sy paid income tax of P25,676,936 which landed him at No. 54 in the BIR’s list of top 500 taxpayers. However, Sy Jr. beat his old man in the ranking by paying income tax of P26,261,504.
As a family of eight taxpayers, the Sys paid the BIR P174,935,129 for taxable year 2014.

Again, Due Diligencer is also providing the Sys’ tax payments that BIR chose not to disclose to the public as follows:

Sy Jr. could have earned a taxable income of P82,176,575; Sy Sr., P80,349,800; Elizabeth, P56,045,240 (tax payment, P17,899,477); Felicidad Tan (mother), P54,416,666 (tax payment, P17,378,333); Hans, P74,801,706 (tax payment, P23,901,546); Harley, P63,429,909 (tax payment, P20,262,571); Herbert, P63,367,475 (tax payment, P20,242,592); and Teresita, P72,959,906 (tax payment, P23,312,170).

While Sy, the family patriarch, is the chairman of the board of SMIC, he was not among the company’s highest-paid executives. However, as the founder of the SM group, he was not to be denied a place among the government’s top contributors to the public coffers..

Since 1960, Sy Sr. has been a member of SMIC’s eight-person board, according to a company filing.

Due Diligencer’s take

Two of the Philippines’ richest tycoons are the topics of today’s piece, which cited their contributions to the BIR’s tax collections.

Never mind if part or some of their tax remittances ended up somewhere else such as at the House of Representatives, which a few it not all its members consider as their exclusive kingdom.

Didn’t these legislators know that they were elected to pass laws and not jail their political enemies and issue press releases to satisfy their egos? They should know that taxes are paid to improve public service and not anyone else’s pockets.

The Gokongweis, the Sys and other wealthy families pay taxes not to support shenanigans in government. Their contributions to the economy cannot be underestimated. Not only do they pay taxes on profits earned by their businesses but also provide jobs for many Filipinos.

Perhaps, some businesses financially support some politicians or are forced by few elected corrupt officials to finance their elections. Their companies’ financial filings for those listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange do not contain details of political contributions.

Should listed companies be required to also make a full disclosure of their contributions either to political parties or individual politicians? Just asking.


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