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Arum to BIR chief: Pacquiao's tax mess is your fault

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has yet to receive a proof of Manny Pacquiao's tax payments in the US, but his promoter said the controversy that has arisen from this is the fault of the agency's head.

In a phone-patch interview with ANC on Wednesday, Top Rank Promotions chief Bob Arum said BIR commissioner Kim Henares herself should have asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the US for a certificate proving that Pacquiao has paid his taxes there.

He said Pacquiao has requested the certificate from the IRS months ago but the agency has yet to issue the document since it is a government office "hampered by bureaucracy."

“Manny requested the certificate from the IRS and I am sure the certificate will be coming in the next week or so, but it’s not Manny’s fault. It’s her fault,” Arum said in the ANC interview.

The boxing promoter said Henares, a representative of a sovereign government, should have coordinated with her counterpart in the IRS, an agency of another sovereign government.

“The two governments should have corresponded with each other to get a certificate, instead of putting the burden on an individual to get the certificate from a country, which he isn’t even a citizen of," Arum said.

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Noting that Pacquiao is not an ordinary citizen since he is an icon and a congressman, Arum said Henares could have either asked the IRS herself or go to Pres. Benigno Aquino III, who would have asked the US ambassador to the Philippines to send the document.

"This is absolute nonesense," he said.

"One thing she should have never done is to freeze this man’s bank accounts because of her own ineptitude," Arum said of Henares.

The BIR has garnished two bank accounts of Pacquiao that covered P1.1 million pesos after saying that the eight-division champion hasn't proved he paid taxes from 2008 to 2009.

Arum explained in a statement that for every fight of Pacquiao in the US, 30 percent of his earnings were withheld by the company and paid directly to the IRS through the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

He said they have submitted copies of the EFT deposit acknowledgements to the BIR but the agency wanted "certified" documents directly from the IRS.

Henares earlier said that Pacquiao's camp has only provided them a letter from Top Rank stating his tax payments in the US.

But the BIR chief said the letter won't be considered as an official proof since anybody can make such document.

Malacañang, meanwhile, defended on Wednesday the BIR for going after Pacquiao in connection with his tax case.

"Actions taken by the BIR have adhered to what the law requires. He has been given ample opportunity to comply, and he will continue to be treated fairly. As a public official, it will be well for him to demonstrate that he, too, is a law-abiding citizen," an article by the state-run Philippine News Agency quoted Communications Sec. Sonny Coloma as saying.

Related stories: Henares to Pacquiao: Don't use BIR as excuse | Arum: Pacquiao's taxes paid in US; Papers coming 'very soon'

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