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. #