A taxing time
A taxing time
SINGKIT - Doreen G. Yu (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2013 - 12:00am

Hui sin pa la tyo seh.

The President famously uttered that line before a recent gathering of businessmen and community leaders who probably did not expect to hear such an admonition to pay the correct taxes.

But certainly it is not only Tsinoy businessmen who should be thus reminded, so aside from Hokkien – which the President supposedly practiced in order to say it correctly – perhaps the admonition should be given as well in the various languages and dialects: Bayri ug sakto ang inyong buwis palihug (in Bisaya); Pangaasi yo ta agbayad kayo ti usto nga buis (in Ilocano); Palihog bayad sang eksakto nga buwis (in Ilonggo).

Tomorrow is the deadline for all good citizens to fulfill their obligation to the state and file income tax returns, unless, of course, you’re toiling peasants like us who have their taxes taken by the state – in the form of withholding tax – even before a single centavo reaches our grubby little hands and thus do not need to file tax returns.

I feel a little bit better these days about contributing my taxes to the national coffers – I used to wish I could be a tax evader if only my pay was not subject to withholding tax – after reading about tax cheats being made to pay their deficiencies and those who presumably do not pay up being slapped with charges. There are surely a lot more of them out there, and the recent move to train the taxman’s sights on professionals to reconcile obviously highly successful practices with insignificant or disproportionate tax payments should bring a good number into the tax corral.

Companies are not being spared either, and though some have complained of excessive and unreasonable assessments for taxes and duties that end up being disproven in a detailed audit, it is a necessary inconvenience of a system that is trying to right itself. One company was advised of an assessment of something like P34 million in deficient duties, but after presenting all their records they paid the princely sum of P28,000 and change – properly receipted and without any provision “for the boys.” People, and companies, should stand pat on their rights and not be bamboozled into coughing up “facilitation” money; but of course this is possible only if there is no hanky-panky to cover up.

For government officials and employees tomorrow is also the deadline for filing their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth – the (in)famous SALN that has been the downfall of many a crooked official. I have never had to file a SALN in my life, but I am told it is not an easy thing to do. A friend who joined government a couple of years ago said he even had to inventory all his books – which is quite a lot – but the upside of the exercise, he said, was realizing, after tallying up all his assets, that he was worth a lot more than he thought.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. For God was please to have all his fulness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

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