Where are our taxes going?

Tita Valderama

Tita Valderama

When we salaried workers get hold of our pay slips, we usually frown on the amounts deducted particularly on withheld income tax.

And we can’t do anything about it because income tax, premiums for Social Security System (SSS) or Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG) are automatic deductions by law.

There is no way to escape or avoid paying. These are already deducted even before we even get hold of our salaries.

When we go to doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, designers, couturiers and other professionals, we also pay them value-added tax in addition to their service fees that are often outrageously unreasonable unless we have good referrals or connections to them.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) knows quite well that most professionals and business establishments are not paying the right amount of taxes, and many companies are not remitting the taxes they deduct automatically from employees. Is BIR doing enough to collect the deficiencies?

Filing of one case a week and shaming those who don’t pay enough don’t seem to be working. I hear so many complaints that the filing of cases serves as a tool used by revenue examiners and assessors to blackmail companies who won’t settle with their computation, which includes an amount “for the boys” that are sometimes bigger than what will appear in the official receipt.

When we go to hospitals, buy drugs, and other medical needs, we pay taxes.

When we eat in restaurants, buy groceries, and other necessities for our daily needs, we also pay VAT.

Income, service and value-added taxes are squeezing us ordinary employees dry.

But are these taxes remitted to the government? If yes, how is the government using the money? Don’t we deserve efficient service when we go the city hall to pay real estate taxes, apply for permits, secure residence certificate? We also pay when we do these things, right? But why do we still have to wait in long queues to pay the government more money? If we don’t pay, we get penalized and we have to pay more.

Then we come across politicians who benefit from millions of pesos in dubious transactions with the likes of Janet Lim-Napoles moving around like kings and princes, still enjoying the perks and privileges funded out of the tax monies squeezed from ordinary mortals.

We read stories like the Philippine National Police (PNP) spending P21 million this year to hire security guards to man the gates of its headquarters in Camp Crame and its offices and residences of senior officers inside the compound.

Isn’t this an insult to the police organization that its national headquarters will be secured by private security guards? Are security guards better trained than police officers to be entrusted to secure the PNP headquarters? Who owns the security agency chosen to get the contract?

Also last week, reports came out that the BIR would train its eyes on lechon (roasted pig) sellers. If the figures released were correct, it’s quite unsettling to learn that the popular Mila’s lechon paid only P5, 099 in taxes for 2012.

That amount is perhaps just equivalent to the monthly deduction of a mid-ranked employee.

The same reports said lechon sellers Three Little Pigs and Rico’s Lechon filed income tax returns but paid zero taxes.

Other sellers Elars Lechon, Jiro’s Lechon, Sabroso Lechon, Cris Native Lechon, Aling Loring’s and Hecky’s Lechon, had no record of income tax returns filed with the BIR.

Lesser known lechon sellers CnT Lechon based in Cebu was tagged as the top taxpayer, with P465, 270 in taxes paid for 2012.

Ulcing’s Lechon is the second top taxpayer, with P123, 255 paid, followed by Ping-Ping’s Lechon with P93, 456 and Charlie’s Pritchon with P67, 282 paid for 2012.

It would be less painful to see a third of our monthly salaries going to income taxes (plus more in indirect taxes for services and goods we buy), if we get better service when transacting with government offices, if we see shenanigans in government suffering in jail, if we see government programs working well for the taxpayers.

In some road construction sites, we see billboards that say, “This is where your taxes are going.” But the constructions are moving too slowly because the lowly workers are not paid correctly while the contractors can afford to shower connections in government with expensive gifts.

The way I see it, our taxes are going to wasteful government spending. Our taxes are hardly working for us ordinary mortals. And we are not in a position to call a tax boycott. #


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  1. Comments? What for? Kahit naman mag-comment ka ng maganda, wala ring mangyayari. Hindi naman nila pinapakinggan. Hindi naman nila sinusunod ang mga suggestions ng taong bayan na “boss” nila kuno. Walaang mangyayari sa mga comments.Ang kailangan, palitan lahat ng mga hinayupak na government officials na walang ginagawa kundi magpalaki ng tiyan at bulsa.

  2. The news article says “the BIR knows quite well that most professionals and business establishments are not paying the right amount of taxes, and many companies are not remitting the taxes they deduct automatically from employees. Is BIR doing enough to collect the deficiencies?”

    The concrete example is the case of GOLDEN DONUTS, INC. (GDI), the Philippines’s exclusive franchisee of DUNKIN’ DONUTS OF AMERICA, INC. (DUNKIN’ BRANDS, INC.), which has unpaid huge tax deficit of P1.5 billion for year 2007. Although BIR Commissioner Henares knows of GDI’s tax deficit, she refuses to collect it or sue the company for tax evasion for under-declaring its revenues in the income tax return.

    How can BIR tax auditors and collectors collect the deficiencies when Henares herself, the BIR Chief Tax Collector who is tagged as the “national bully”, and who proudly proclaimed to intensely run after tax cheats, fears high profile business enterprises like DUNKIN’ DONUTS’ local seller….a TAX EVADER?

  3. joebert banderas on

    Ang SSS nagcompare sila sa bansang India, Malaysia malaki daw ang contribution nila kaysa sa atin dahil gusto nilang mag increased nang contribution para seguro mag increased din sila ng bunos nilang milyon2x, Ok lang sa ibang bansa malaki ang contribution maganda naman ang serbisyo at benefisyo magiging milyonaryo ka pag retire mo . pero sa atin sa pinas kulang pa pambili ng gamot ang pension mo..

  4. joebert banderas on

    napupunta lang sa bulsa nang mga corrupt government officials ang karamihan ng tax natin.

  5. You are correct in most of what you say. Not only this government but all previous governments have been as bad if not worse. Get rid of bonuses to people like the supreme court chief justice & probably all justices of the supremem court. What bonuses & expenses do politicians also get. I thuink all should be looked at & most got rid of. I will remind people of just a few extra payments for renata corona the ex supreme court chief justice. He got P20,000 per year rice allowance. I cant remember the figure but he got a hardship allowance. He got about 5 extra christmas bonuses or allowances, it all worked out to millions of pesos per year. He got more in allowances thn he got in salary, now that surely cant be right. But thats where a lot of your taxes are going. Ask a builder what allowances his company gives him, its government figures & people working in governemnt be it local or national who get allowances & bonuses that are totaly unfair. If they are fair let everyone know of them so its a totaly transparent income structure as allowances & bonuses are still income. They take all weather or not they need them. enaot corona had almost P200,000,000 in his account so please dont tell me he needed a rice or hardship allowance, of any of his 5 christmas bonuses or whatever name they are called..