Palace open to revising BIR tax ad

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2014 02:43 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2014 10:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is open to revising a government advertisement to encourage doctors to pay correct taxes.

The Philippine Medical Association has reportedly cried foul over the negative connotation of the advertisement, which shows a doctor sitting on the shoulders of a public school teacher.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma urged the PMA to look at the big picture.

"We would like to see them look at the big picture. I think it would be regrettable if, just because of differences on creative presentation, they will not abide by the campaign of the government. I am certain that in their hearts, they want to contribute. Pwede namang pag-usapan kung mayroong mga pagkakaiba ng opinyon," he said.

The BIR has been releasing a series of Tax Watch advertisements to boost the government's tax collection efforts.

"Pati ‘yung mga nagtitinda ng lechon kasama diyan. They have gone by industry, ‘di ba? Kung meron sa inyong nasubaybayan ‘yan by sector — halimbawa, ‘yung favorite restaurant ninyo, magkano ba ang binayad na taxes diyan? ‘Yung favorite na lechon supplier ninyo, ano… Hindi naman sini-single out ang kahit anong grupo. Parang kung tutunghayan natin, the BIR is trying to cast a wider net para mas maraming makalahok. The aim is to get more people to participate in the revenue generation effort," he said.

Nevertheless, the Palace stood pat on its call for professionals to pay the correct taxes.

"According to the BIR, we have around 1.7 million self-employed and professional taxpayers—lawyers, doctors, businessmen—who pay the total of P9.8-billion in 2010. This means that each of them paid only an average of P5,783 in income tax—and if this is true, then they each must have earned only P8,500 a month, which is below the minimum wage. I find this hard to believe. We call on all professional organizations to urge their members to pay the right taxes and help in the country’s overall economic development efforts," Coloma said.

Coloma said the government wants to tap the civic spirit of taxpayers.

"Nananawagan na lang tayo doon sa kanilang civic spirit dahil Pilipino rin naman sila. Gusto rin naman nilang makatulong sa pagpapaunlad ng ating bansa at ‘yan naman ang gusto nating makita. Hindi naman natin nais siraan o pahiyain ang kahit anong grupo," he said.

Coloma said the BIR is aware of the methods used by some taxpayers to avoid paying taxes.

However, Coloma left to BIR the question of possible amendments to tax laws to plug leakages.

“Meron silang mga administrative procedures, ano. Halimbawa, meron silang pinag-uusapan sa kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga ospital, na ‘yung opsital na mismo ay parang magsisilbing collection agent dahil doon sa mga professional fees na sinisingil ng mga manggamot," he said.