Palace cites admin reforms as reason to pay taxes
MANILA, Philippines – As the deadline to file tax returns nears, Malacañang reminds Filipinos to pay their taxes – pointing to government projects as reason why they should.
On Monday, April 6, more than a week before the deadline, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda asked citizens not just to pay their taxes, but to pay correctly. (READ: Tax calculator: Compute your income tax)
“Taxes are indeed the lifeblood of the nation and so we encourage everyone, every working tax-paying citizen to please report, especially those who are not compensation employees. Compensation employees are withheld at source,” he said.
“For those who are professionals, who have their own businesses, please pay the proper taxes because these taxes as you’ve seen – tomorrow the President will go to Isabela to inaugurate a bridge. This is a product of the taxes that you pay.”
Lacierda was referring to President Benigno Aquino III’s planned trip to Ilagan City, Isabela, for the inauguration of the New Lullutan Bridge, which connects the east and west banks of the Cagayan River. The bridge will allow residents to not have to pay barge fees to transport agricultural products to the market, and cuts travel time between barangays on either side of the river.
Malacañang said projects like these that improve infrastructure and build road “are all products of the taxes that you pay.”
“And so as we increase fiscal space, as we provide, as we improve, [and] continue to collect more taxes, we’re able to implement a number of infrastructure projects. At the same time recognizing that we do not want to leave anyone behind, we’re able to pour investments to our social alleviation programs because an investment on our poorest of the poor is an investment on people,” Lacierda said.
“So that’s also a priority of our administration. So we’d like to encourage everyone, taxpayers to please pay the proper tax.”
Since Aquino’s administration, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has launched an aggressive tax collection campaign that has pursued a wide variety of individuals from world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao to doctors to entrepreneurs.
The BIR has gotten its share of criticisms for its supposed iron-fist approach and for allegedly targeting personalities considered to be on the other side of the political fence. Malacañang has defended the government’s efforts, saying taxes paid by Filipinos help sustain the country's economic growth.
In ASEAN, the Philippines has the second highest average tax rate after Vietnam and Thailand. The Philippines also comes out on top as the most taxed in the region when it comes to value-added taxes. The government aims to increase the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 16 to 18% by 2016. – Rappler.com