Monday, December 16, 2013

Into the Labyrinth of the Philippine Tax System

What’s scarier than a Red Bull overdosed zombie? It’s a Red Bull overdosed Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares. The lady is an absolute maniac--- er--- machine; running after tax evaders, left, right, in, on, over and under; utilizing the full extent of the law to squeeze the last cent from every taxable entity. From what I’ve heard, that includes the dead and people who just happen to accidentally come across money lying on the street. I wouldn’t be surprised if she manages to uncover some obscure legal basis for taxing animals, inanimate objects and fictional characters.

Starring Kim Henares

Do consider though, she’s just doing her job and within legal boundaries, which is exactly what we demand from other government officials moonlighting as clowns/thieves/scoundrels. Personally, I’m not the type who complains about things I can’t change and taxes are as inevitable as stress in a call center.

Acceptance for the tax man’s job however, does not mean I take great pleasure in paying taxes. I would equate the experience to having to run a marathon in five inch stilettos, doable but painful and frustrating, and it’s not because of the maddeningly high figures taxpayers have to pay. The real reasons why I am regularly visited by nightmarish visions of a nude Henares atop Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball are the convoluted payments systems and the knowledge of where my payments go.

Tax payment systems here are a labyrinth of epic proportions. You will get lost. You will weep and pull your hair. There will be a lot of BIR personnel to ask information from but they’ve all majored in ancient languages and will insist on explaining what you need to do in Latin.

Just when you’ve begun to learn the when, where, how and why of it all; they’ll add levels of difficulties in the form of new regulations, policies and requirements so that you will once again start rocking back and forth, dazed, confused and a shadow of your former self. Cases in point are this year’s new rules on receipts and withholding taxes, non compliance with which will probably land businesses and professionals directly in front of Henares’ ball(s).

For Kim, nearly everything is taxable. Photo from Pesos and Sense.

Despite all this soul crushing convolution, I would still have happily complied if I knew my money was put to good public use. As matters stand however, mine is compliance minus the happiness. There is simply no joy in knowing I’m paying for some politician’s daughter’s Hermes collection while many of my fellow Filipinos who should be benefiting from my taxes wallow in hell on earth.

I’d imagine that because our taxes aren’t going where they should, Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua might just be enjoying better food, water and living conditions than many Filipinos. Heck, the lucky dog might even be receiving better education.

It’s almost Christmas. Why am I thinking like this? I should be thinking of less distressing thoughts like the prospect of walking into a lion’s den or falling into a snake pit, but there are no holidays for the tax lady. Already we’re preparing new accounting books and papers for next year’s labyrinth.

Merry Christmas to you too Kim.

11 comments:

  1. Yeah it's nearly Christmas as you said but it does not hide the fact that taxes in the Philippines are too taxing to pay. It's like I'm paying the government one-fourth of my salary.

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  2. Though I'm not yet working but I hope taxes are going in the right place. Anyhow I agree with Paris' Chihuahua. Too lucky to enjoy life while we are suffering of these issues. But it's Christmas let's take aside this first and enjoy! :)

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  3. It's okay for me to pay tax. As long as it goes to the proper place. What's unacceptable is hearing news that it is being used by our very own leaders.

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  4. The simple rule of taxation is that income from all sources is taxable and the one from the dead are estate tax and those who accidentally found money are donors tax. When applied consistently, this should be routine though there's another issue on proper usage of taxes.

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  5. agree with all the things you've said above. I am not working yet but just hearing all the news back in philippines about tax and all the donations to go in tacloban it sad who the government are not acting as what they're supposed to.

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  6. i hope she will also seriously look and dig into the accounts of those big businessmen and corporation who keeps on evading taxes all these years

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  7. i should have no problem with how much tax the government is getting from my income... if only i see that it is used properly and the nation benefit from it. pero di ganun ang nakikita ko... so lenient in the disbursement and liquidation of funds allocated to our gov't officials. Yahweh bless.

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  8. the new rule on receipts is making our life more difficult! we need to provide the TIN of the company as well the number and the address, unlike before that all we need is the name of the company haays

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  9. True! If only our taxes go to the right places, then we probably won't be complaining

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  10. hahaha! Paris' chihuahua.. Anyway, even if it is already Christmas, tax (especially for working class) would always be at the back of one's mind. Hay! I hope this distraught will be over and the tax will be at its right use.

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  11. I just wish that this 2014, there will be good governance including our taxation and hoping the proceeds of the money would be useful to everyone.

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