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Business

Tycoons push tighter drive vs tax evaders

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Some of the country’s tycoons vowed to continue supporting the government’s efforts to collect taxes but urged tax authorities to go after those who aren’t paying taxes as well.

In a virtual panel discussion during the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s 2021 National Tax Campaign Kick-off, businessmen Ramon Ang, Enrique Razon, Manuel V. Pangilinan and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala all vowed to continue supporting the BIR in its efforts to collect taxes from corporations and the private sector.

But at the same time, they noted the need to expand the tax base.

“The BIR is admirable. It has transformed from a monolithic agency to a digital platform, but the BIR has to collect taxes from those who are not paying taxes,” said Razon, chairman of International Container Terminal Services Inc. and Bloomberry Resorts Corp.

Zobel for his part, urged the BIR to continue digitizing operations, saying the pivot to digitization especially during the lockdowns has enabled more entities to pay taxes.

Ang said as a major taxpayer, San Miguel Corp. would continue paying its taxes 100 percent.

Pangilinan said the PLDT Group would continue to support the BIR in its digitization efforts to help with its overall goal of improving its tax collection efforts.

“We continue to build our 5G network...We’re doing our best to make 5G devices more affordable. By the end of the year, it will be more affordable to a greater number of Filipinos,” Pangilinan said.

All four tycoons said they would continue to partner with the government in nation-building through the timely and accurate payment of taxes.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the BIR’s digital transformation program would be “fully functional and irreversible” to ensure the agency’s much improved services and highly efficient collection performance.

As a primary thrust of the Duterte administration, the BIR’s digitalization initiative will not merely involve the implementation of a state-of-the-art data management system, but will also strive to apply the “cutting edge in the application of new technologies to achieve the best revenue performance,” Secretary Dominguez said.

A grant from the United States to the Philippine government for the BIR’s Information Communication Technology Modernization Strategy and Data Center has made the revenue agency’s digital transformation possible.

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