Manny Pacquiao’s promoter says he expects certified United States (US) tax paperwork for the Filipino boxing to be received by Philippine authorities “very soon” after they froze the fighter’s assets.
Bob Arum said that allegations of P2.2 billion in unpaid taxes from US bouts in 2008 and 2009 are false and that his Top Rank agency made certain the proper money was paid to US authorities just to avoid such problems.
“Filipino authorities confirmed that Manny is not required to pay double tax,” Arum said in a statement from Las Vegas on Tuesday. “If Manny paid US taxes for fights and endorsements that occurred on US soil, he is not required to pay double taxes in the Philippines.”
Pacquiao, 34, said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had rejected the documentation he provided to show payments had already been made to the US Internal Revenue Service, a claim Arum supported.
“For each of Manny’s fights that occurred in the United States, including those in 2008 and 2009, Top Rank withheld 30 percent of Manny’s purses and paid those monies directly to the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] via Electronic Funds Transfer [EFT].
“Top Rank has deposit confirmations for each payment. Top Rank has done the same for all US endorsements it has facilitated on Manny’s behalf.”
But Arum said the BIR wanted certified paperwork of those transactions from the IRS rather than deposit confirmations.
“Top Rank submitted copies of the EFT deposit acknowledgements to the Bureau of Internal Revenue [BIR] as proof of payment. The BIR received the documents but directed Manny to obtain ‘certified’ documents directly from the IRS itself. Obtaining certified copies of documents from the IRS takes time. Manny made the formal request to the IRS and we have every expectation that the necessary documents will be furnished to the BIR very soon,” he added.
Malacañang defended the BIR, saying that Pacquiao was given enough time to prepare the paperwork.
“As a public official, it will be well for him to demonstrate that he, too, is a law-abiding citizen,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a text message to reporters.
“[The] actions taken by the BIR have adhered to what the law requires. He [Pacquiao] has been given ample opportunity to comply,” Coloma said.
He, however, assured that the lawmaker “will continue to be treated fairly.”
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said on Wednesday that Pacquiao only submitted a letter from Top Rank certifying that he paid the proper taxes in the US.
“The case has been going on for two years and we have always given him all the considerations. The question is until when should we wait? It’s simple, if the papers are really there, then he has to show us,” Henares said.
Some lawmakers are willing to help Pacquiao settle his tax debts.
Rep. Silvestre Bello of 1-BAP party-list said he is ready to give legal assistance to Pacquiao.
“[O]f course I can provide legal assistance. But we must know the facts because if we read all the news items about the problem of Congressman Pacquiao, you will not really know what is the problem,” Bello told reporters.
Bello believed that the problem may have stemmed from the insufficient documentation of his income.
Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora shared Bello’s sentiments and advised the boxing champion to get a good accountant and lawyer.
“We gave what we thought was [a]reasonable advice, which is that he should get a good accountant and a good lawyer. And the reason is many of his problems are really documentary in character,” Zamora said.
“I don’t think he owes the Philippine government anything,” he added.
AFP, JOEL SY EGCO AND JHOANNA BALLARAN