MANILA, Philippines – Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima warned tax evaders on Tuesday while stressing the need to monitor statistics specific to various taxpaying groups.
“You can run, but you cannot hide from Commissioner Henares,” he said, referring to efforts being done by Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares to chase after citizens who underdeclare or avoid their taxes.
Purisima said that part of the Department of Finance’s tax watch campaign is to increase transparency in tax payments and to ask Filipinos to pay the right taxes by revealing insights about the tax base.
“We want to raise awareness about tax payments and ask the public if the numbers we observe make sense,” he said.
He noted as an example the number of taxpaying pawnshops in the country versus the number being supervised by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“Why is it that we have 5,230 pawnshops that paid in 2012, but the BSP supervises 6,301? The average tax payment for pawnshops also went down from P363,085 in 2011 to P315,812 in 2012,” he said.
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He goes on by saying that in Binondo, a place full of popular Chinatown eateries, there are only 120 registered restaurants with a combined tax of P156,780 in 2012, lower than the P222,000 posted in 2010.
“This average is lower than the average tax payment of restaurants in Baguio, Tarlac, Legaspi City, and the Cordillera Administrative Region. Is that right?” he said.
He added that in Palawan, there are 47 restaurants that paid P353,000 in taxes on average.
“But data from DOT (Department of Tourism) says that Palawan arrivals have increased dramatically since the Underground River was registered as one of the seven natural wonders of the world,” he said.
Purisima added that while the BIR has improved its income tax collection, collections of value-added tax (VAT) has been poor.
“Between 2009 and 2012, income tax collection from corporations increased by 46 percent. Income tax from wage-earners increased by 63 percent. VAT collection only increased by 19 percent over that period, so there is much room for improvement on VAT,” he said.
Collections are also expected to rise following the implementation of the Sin Tax Reform Law.
“Excise tax collections from ‘sin’ products from January to May of 2013 are up 32%, despite the fifty percent drop in tobacco removals,” Purisima said.
Last year, despite hitting the P1-trillion mark for the first time, the BIR only collected P1.057 trillion out of its P1.066-trillion goal. The bureau has a collection target of P1.25 trillion for 2013.