Probe on BIR ad campaign sought


SAYING that the advertising campaign of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) portraying some professionals as a burden to other taxpayers may have been done in bad taste, a lawmaker now wants the Senate to step in and conduct and investigate the matter.

Sen. Nancy Binay, said that she will ask her colleagues, though a resolution, to conduct an inquiry on the latest campaign of the BIR headed by Commissioner Kim Henares, that depicts doctors and other professionals as a burden to other tax payers.

Binay is pushing for a Senate inquiry even if Malacañang has already expressed support for the BIR’s ad campaign.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Tuesday defended the BIR and even said that the tax bureau would continue to “persuade” professionals and leaders of the industry sector to avoid “punitive” government action by paying their tax dues correctly and on time.

Binay was referring to the series of half-page print ads of the BIR, one of which casts doctors as delinquent taxpayers.

“I am urging my fellow senators to look into whether the portrayal of doctors as a burden to other tax payers in the print ad was done in bad taste,” urged the lady senator.

In the print ad, a doctor is shown perched on the shoulders of a grade school teacher—their salaries and taxes were also included as proof that while doctors rake in millions, their taxes are much smaller than those of teachers.

Binay said an investigation is needed to find out how the ads were conceptualized and who approved the advertisements that put doctors and other professional in a “bad light.”

“Even if there were reports about doctors that are not issuing receipts to their patients, does it give the BIR the right to make a generalization and use them as model to portray tax evaders?” Binay asked.

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) slammed the ad campaign which came out in the newspapers Sunday morning, saying that it was “unfair” that they were being depicted as “tax cheats.”

Meanwhile, in a bid to somehow ease the financial burden of most of the taxpayers, Sen. Sonny Angara has filed a bill that seeks to reduce the rates of individual income tax and adjust the individual income tax brackets.

Angara’s Senate Bill (SB) 2149 aims to reduce the country’s individual income tax rate from the current 32 percent to 25 percent by 2017.

The lawmaker insisted that tax system should not only be a means to raise revenues for the State but it should also be a way or a method by which the State can promote its ends.

“I think with smaller tax rates, we can have greater voluntary compliance,” he said.

The neophyte senator cited that the Philippines has the highest individual income tax rate next to Thailand’s 37 percent and Vietnam’s 35 percent.


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