Sunday, November 7, 2010

Of Millionaires, Billionaires, and Tax Evaders - Part II

Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco is one of my favorite writers. He is the son of my former Microbiology professor at the University of Santo Tomas, Dr. Pedro Chanco.

Paying taxes from your salaries/stipend/honoraria in the Philippines is based on your income bracket. In short, these gazillionaires or CEOs or whatever you want to call them to be paying P2M in taxes should be making at least P500,000/month including a 13th month pay which is also taxable. This is also presuming that that is all they are getting - nothing more and nothing less. Which of course is highly doubtful.

Based on this premise, you can understand more clearly the article of Boo.

In his article entitled Demand and Supply, Boo writes: (what I comment is in parenthesis, so some of you may get a little dizzy reading this)

"Instead of just buying their own copy of Tony Lopez's BizNews Asia with the list of the Top 500 taxpayers in 2008, I keep getting asked if this or that business leader is on the list and how much he or she paid. It is either Tony's magazine is so difficult to find in news stands or people just don't want to shell out P130. Tony told me it is his exclusive because the BIR took the list down from their website." (You can just smell the people whom the BIR do not want to displeasure.)

"...Donald Dee, Mike Varela, Sergio Luis-Ortiz who are the noisy supporters of Ate Glue and who rotate the leadership of PCCI and ECOP among themselves (were not on) the list. That probably means they paid less than P2.1M in taxes or are in another list as corporations. Because they were vocal Ate Glue supporters, it is difficult to think that they apparently weren't ready to go all the way to their wallets. Then again, talk is a lot cheaper...I did not find any of the Zobel brothers in the list. Their first cousins Inigo Zobel and his sister Mercedes are not on the list too. There is, however, a Patricia Miranda Zobel de Ayala in the list, number 11, with P20M in paid taxes. Makati Business Club chair Ramon del Rosario is number 97, with P6M in paid taxes..."

"Other personalities from the Makati crowd in the list: Joey Cuisia at 29th with P11.2M, Ricardo Romulo at 39th with P9.5M, Oscar Hilado at 41st with P9.3M, PLDT executives Ray Espinosa at 22nd with P12.2M and Napoleon Nazareno at 77th with P7M. Peter Garrucho is at 152nd with P4.4M, Joey Leviste at 197th with P3.6M, urban planner Jun Palafox is 207th with P3.5M and Raul Concepcion is 223rd with P3.3M."

"Other interesting personalities in the list: Eusebio Tanco of STI at 236 with P3.3M, Cosmetic doctor Vicky Belo is 257th with P3.1M, former Chief Justice Art Panganiban is 289th with P2.9M..."

"Curiously, Tonyboy Cojuangco, reported to have donated substantially (P100M) to the PNoy campaign,, was only at 471st and paid only P2.208M, about the cost of a couple of Gretchen's Hermes bags. Medical City big boss, Dr. Alfredo RA Bengzon is 469th at P2.209M."

"Even if it takes so little to be on the list, I didn't find the veritable Washington Sycip, despite his many directorships in blue chip companies and his biting lectures on good governance. Maybe he is also in another list, as a corporation or something."

"On the taipans, here is how Tony Lopez saw it: 'The country's richest individual Henry Sy Sr is in the Top 100, No 73 with tax payment of P7.27M...the second riches, Lucio tan, also missed the grade...' The Gokongweis, father and son are not on the list but son-in-law Perry Pe is 367th with P2.5M in taxes paid. I don't remember seeing the Yuchengcos either who are probabaly in another list too. Also missing in the list is property tycoon Manuel B. Villar, once and probably still is the richest senator. Gibo Teodoro, said to have been the richest in Ate Glue's cabinet isn't there either. Also missed on the list are the former First Gentleman and all of the past presidents..."

"How is it possible that the country's richest are not the highest taxpayers? Tony quotes Mike Varela, a lawyer and chair emeritus of PCCI. 'Maybe these people incorporated themselves...when you are a corporation you can charge everything to it, including the grocery allowance of your wife.' Tony Lopez quotes Donald Dee, the PCCI Treasurer."

"According to the BIzNews Asia article, former BIR Commissioner Joel Tan Torres initially published the list in the agency's website. The list however, disappeared. The current Commissioner Kim Henares told the magazine. "The former commissioner posted it for a time but had to remove it because of complaints."

"The main excuse is that kidnappers will use that list. But I don't think so. Kidnappers, will on the contrary, be disappointed that the folks they thought are rich don't seem to be that rich, based on their tax payments. It is just frustrating that the burden of financing this government placed on the middle class like us whose tax payments are mostly withheld at sourced or added on to the things we buy. And of course, we cannot afford to get top notch tax accountants and are at the mercy of BIR examiners. .."

"Oh well...let us just end with this quote Tony used from Oliver Wendell Holmes: TAXES ARE WHAT WE PAY FOR CIVILIZED SOCIETY. Otherwise, stop complaining about the anarchy around you."

(And I couldn't agree more.)

No comments: