DESPITE its well-publicized attempt to collect P2.2 billion from boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has not been successful in meeting its collection target for the year.
Some critics attributed the failure to the bureau’s “selective” way of chasing after big taxpayers.
The BIR is under intense pressure to improve its collection since the country will need massive funding for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda.
But the bureau’s collection record this year is far from satisfactory. Except in April, it has consistently fallen short of its monthly targets.
And based on the BIR’s list of the 500 biggest taxpayers in 2012, only 25 of the 40 Filipinos included in the Forbes list of the super rich were top taxpayers.
Mall developer Henry Sy and his family paid only a combined tax of P93.8 million, despite his being listed by Forbes as among the five richest Filipinos.
When it comes to paying taxes, the Sy family was eclipsed by the country’s top taxpayer — Azcona Vivian Que, who paid P131.4 million last year.
Lucio Tan, considered to be the second richest man in the country, had a tax liability of P18 million in his and his family’s income tax returns (ITR) in 2012.
The next three wealthiest Filipinos are Enrique Razon Jr. whose ITR showed a P19 million tax liability, John Gokongwei Jr. and family, P16.8 million and David Consunji and family, P14.3 million.
After its row with Pacquiao, the BIR has not indicated if it will run after other big fish, especially those who failed to settle their tax liabilities.
But compelling Pacquiao to pay could be difficult since he had claimed that he had paid his taxes in the United States.
The Court of Tax Appeals had ordered the BIR and the Sarangani congressman to stop discussing the tax case in public, but if Pacquiao did indeed settle his taxes in the US, then the BIR loses its bid to collect P2.2 billion from the boxer/congressman.
KRISTYN NIKA M. lAZO