Election does not increase tax collection -BIR
By Yolanda Sotelo
CALASIAO – There could be much spending during election period, but this does not necessarily translate to a dramatic increase in tax collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, agency officials claimed.
During the tax campaign press conference on Monday at the Revenue Regional Office I, BIR Deputy Commissioner Nelson Aspe said “rumors” circulate that during election year, the cash out of businessmen are usually doubled.
“In a way, this is true because they contribute to the campaign kitty of their favorite candidates. But the contributions are tax-free (if spent for campaign by the candidates),” he said.
But Aspe said campaign contributions could not be used as an excuse by the businessmen not to pay taxes, otherwise their payable taxes would increase as they have to pay an interest of 20 percent annually.
Elections are not also an excuse for the BIR to pin their collection efforts on who will win the national elections, he said.
“BIR needs to collect taxes not thinking on who will win. But we are doing it knowing that in July, there will be a new president to execute laws of the land fairly, and funds are necessary, 77 percent of which will come from the BIR. Whoever will win, we will collect much needed revenues,” he explained.
Aspe said there are 103 million Filipinos, 45 million of whom are voters but only 29-30 percent of whom are taxpayers.
“But are all of the registered individuals and companies paying income tax? For income tax, which occupies 65 percent of the total revenue, only 9-10 million are paying taxes.
Exempted from paying taxes, though gainfully employed, are the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the minimum wage earners, and those engaged in underground economy.
“So each one of the taxpayers carries nine who do not pay taxes. I’m not saying that the nine should pay as they may be exempted,” he said.
To reach those who should pay taxes but do not, the BIR embarks on a year-round campaign, with each regional office coming up with its own strategies to get them out and pay taxes.
He gave as example Urdaneta City where revenue officers go from house to house for the tax mapping or tax verification drives.
“You cannot see revenue officers in the office as they are out in the field for the tax drives to discover more taxpayers,” he said.
He said the goal is to double the tax collection target each year, citing the figure six years ago, at the start of Aquino Administration, which was 930 billion pesos.
“Now, the goal is 2.25 trillion pesos. So come what may, rain or shine, we should collect,” he said.
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