The lifeblood of the nation

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
The lifeblood of the nation
BIR Commissioner lawyer Romeo “Jun” Lumagui Jr.
Photo from PCO

When the matter of tax and taxation is discussed, one theory stands out among the rest, and that is the lifeblood theory of taxation.

Every lawyer or accountant worth her or his bean counter knows this by heart.

As enunciated by the Supreme Court in the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Algue, Inc., and The Court of Tax Appeals in 1988, “Taxes are the lifeblood of the government and so should be collected without unnecessary hindrance. On the other hand, such collection should be made in accordance with law, as any arbitrariness will negate the very reason for government itself.  It is therefore necessary to reconcile the apparently conflicting interests of the authorities and the taxpayers so that the real purpose of taxation, which is the promotion of the common good, may be achieved.”

Indeed, as further elucidated in the case, “It is said that taxes are what we pay for civilization in society. Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for lack of the motive power to activate and operate it. Hence, despite the natural reluctance to surrender part of one’s hard-earned income to the taxing authorities, every person who is able must contribute his share in the running of the government. The government, for its part, is expected to respond in the form of tangible and intangible benefits intended to improve the lives of the people and enhance their moral and material values. This symbiotic relationship is the rationale of taxation and should dispel the erroneous notion that it is an arbitrary method of exaction by those in the seat of power.”

The author with Commissioner Lumagui.

One cannot overemphasize the importance of taxes to the churning wheels of government and governance.

And of equal importance to this is the proper, expedient, and efficient collection of taxes from individuals and corporations.

When President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. appointed lawyer Romeo “Jun” Lumagui Jr. as Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner in November 2022, the BIR had fallen short of its P187-billion tax collection target by P16 billion as of October that year.

One can only surmise that the reason then for the President in promoting Atty. Jun as BIR commissioner was to improve on tax collection and to crack down on the scalawags.

Atty. Jun had already been appointed as BIR deputy commissioner some months before. He also served as technical assistant to the commissioner, and tax fraud head for Revenue Region No. 6, Manila, Revenue Region No. 4, Pampanga, and Revenue Region No. 7B, East NCR.

He was part of the project management and implementation service, which develops and oversees the implementation of the overall reform or modernization program of the BIR.

He also headed the Assets Recovery Task Force and the Task Force on Direct Selling/Multi-Level Marketing and Investment Scams.

Hard at work.
Photo by Edd Gumban

Atty. Jun started his career with the BIR back in 2016 when he was Regional Investigation Division chief in East NCR.

Prior to his stint with the BIR, Atty. Jun was an associate at the SyCip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan law firm (after graduating from law school and passing the Bar) and a co-founder and partner of the Morales Justiniano Peña and Lumagui Law Offices.

Immediately after his appointment, Commissioner Jun wasted no time in carrying out the mandate of his position.

Prior to his promotion to commissioner, Atty. Jun personally led a raid on establishments in Tondo, Manila, that led to the seizure of approximately 50,000 to 100,000 units of vapes, 899 boxes of untaxed excisable articles composed of 175,050 pieces of pods, and 61,400 pieces of bottled, flavored juice.

This led to the filing a month later of criminal complaints against the identified illegal vape traders.

“I hope this serves yet another warning to those who think that they can continue to evade the payment of their taxes. We are hands-on and focused on our job, and we take this very seriously,” commissioner Jun said.

Early this year, commissioner Jun filed a criminal complaint for violations of the Tax Code against three “dummy” firms considered as ghost suppliers and part of a vast network that were manufacturing fake receipts and defrauding the government of billions in taxes and revenues from exports.

I think the President made the right choice in appointing Atty. Jun, who is hands-on and no-nonsense, as the BIR top honcho. He needs our support with the gargantuan task ahead of him.

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