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Noy to Tsinoys: Pay your taxes

MANILA, Philippines - First the audience applauded when President Aquino spoke in Chinese. Then there was nervous laugher as he rattled off the number of firms and individuals not paying taxes.

Finally the room fell silent as the President, still speaking Chinese, urged members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCI) to pay correct taxes.

“Based on your own 2011-2013 directory, I understand that your federation includes 207 firms and organizations as members. Only 105 of these have a Tax Identification Numbers (TIN),” Aquino told FFCCCI yesterday. 

“Of these 105 firms, only 54 filed tax returns. To make matters worse, 38 firms and organizations actually filed returns with zero tax due. This means that only 16 out of the 207, or only around eight percent, of your member-organizations paid taxes,” the President added.

The President also noted that only 424 out of 552 FFCCCI individual members have TINs, and 14 of them filed returns with zero tax due.

“What this means is 354 out of 552 members or 64 percent of you did not pay taxes for the same reasons: no TIN, no tax due, or nothing filed at all. In fact, of those who filed and paid income taxes, a lot of you paid less than P100,000. There were some who paid less than P1,000 in taxes,” the President pointed out.

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“I was shocked, to say the least, when I learned this because that would mean that you are making even less than what I receive every month. Can this be correct? The stockholders of your companies, some of whom must receive glowing reports of your earnings, must be surprised by this as well,” he added.

The President reminded the FFCCCI that while their contributions to nation-building such as the construction of classrooms and provision of social services are appreciated, they still have the obligation to pay taxes just like everybody else in the country.

“Hui sin pa la tyo she (Please pay the proper taxes),” the President said in the Hokkien dialect.

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