BIR hits Makati lawyers in latest tax ad
BIR hits Makati lawyers in latest tax ad
The bureau says only a little over half of lawyer taxpayers in Makati filed their tax returns in 2012

MANILA, Philippines – After doctors, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) now focuses on lawyers in its name-and-shame tax campaign.

The BIR released its latest Tax Watch advertisement, claiming only 53.7% of lawyer taxpayers in the country’s premier business district, Makati City, filed their income tax returns (ITRs) in 2012.

The tax bureau said that while there are 840 lawyers registered with the BIR in Makati, only 451 filed their ITRs two years ago.

The ad came out after the April 15 annual deadline for filing of ITRs. The BIR’s Tax Watch ads are part of its drive to shore up government revenues by shaming individuals, corporations, and industries and sectors that are not paying the right taxes.

In its latest ad, the agency said that 167 or 20% of lawyer taxpayers in Makati paid income taxes less than P27,360 – the income tax of a public school teacher earning P18,549 a month.

It added a lawyer, whom it did not name, had a gross income of P1.327 million in 2012, but declared only P2,975 income tax.

In comparison, the BIR said the annual starting pay of a public school teacher in the Philippines that year was P222,588. The income tax withheld from the teacher’s salary was P27,360.

According to the Tax Watch ad, next to zero, the lowest declared income tax due of a lawyer in Makati was P329.

The BIR released similar ads against doctors, earning the ire of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), the largest association of physicians in the country. Following a word war with PMA, the bureau filed a case against its former head Leo Olarte.

The bureau and the doctors’ group reconciled recently, with PMA’s new head Minerva Calimag calling on her colleagues to abide by the tax laws. –

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