PBA players to BIR: We need a fresh start

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) wants a clean slate with tax regulators after some of its players were charged with tax evasion recently.

Speaking at a forum held by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to educate the Philippines’ top basketball players on how to pay taxes, sports agent Charlie Dy said the players should be given a fresh start.

“We've seen the mistakes of the past. So we have to start fresh. We've seen that there was less awareness and we want to change the mistakes of the past,” said Dy, who received a round of applause from the audience.

A total of 145 professional players like James Yap and Chris Tiu attended the forum held at the BIR headquarters in Diliman, Quezon City.

“We want a fresh start for the players because not all players are knowledgeable about the tax system. They're having this initiative to make us aware since it's really not clear to the players. So we wanted to ask the BIR to clarify all these things,” Dy added on the sidelines of the event.

In the forum, BIR discussed the definition of professionals, requirements in the practice of profession, and how to register with the bureau. The two-hour briefing was led by BIR Deputy Commissioner Nelson Aspe, who answered questions from the players. The players clarified issues like what type of expenses can be considered as deductions, and the payment of withholding taxes.

This forum was held following a case filed by the BIR against professional basketball players Jim Olmedo Alapag and Jared Ryan Dillinger of Smart Communications Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters team on March 14.

According to the BIR, Alapag has a tax deficiency of P17.86 million, while Dillinger’s deficiency was computed at P13.37 million, including surcharges. 

Asked about the ongoing case, Alapag said it was being dealt with.

Other players welcomed the BIR’s campaign to educate professionals ahead of the April 15 annual deadline for filing of income tax returns.

Chris Tiu of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters said, “[there are] mixed sentiments. Players are asking why do we need to pay income tax when we’re already paying withholding tax. Most of us don’t really understand the fiscal structure so this seminar is really good. Everyone has to do their part regarding nation-building.”

“Most of this is new for us new players. Back in college, we were not taught how to file our income taxes,” he added.

According to the PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, the average salary of PBA players is P220,000 a month, or P2,640,000 a year. - Rappler.com