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Finance chief’s tax hike scheme: Soak the pros

by Elaine R. Alanguilan
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] February 1, 2012

FINANCE Secretary Cesar Purisima has ordered Internal Revenue to step up measures to collect more income tax from professionals and self-employed people this year.

“The income tax payments of the professionals should drastically increase by year-end,” Purisima said at the sidelines of the Tax Management Association of the Philippines meeting Tuesday night.

He said he wanted to see the tax payments of professionals to average P100,000 by the end of this year from last year’s P5,600.

He said he was monitoring the income tax payments of professionals and self-employed people down to Internal Revenue’s regional district offices.

“We will continue to set ambitious goals in order for the [bureau] to reach its [revenue] goal],” Purisima said.

Internal Revenue has a revenue hurdle of P1.06 trillion this year from last year’s full-year target of P940 billion. It has yet to release the total amount it collected last year.

“If [Revenue Commissioner] Kim Henares reaches her target, she will be the first one to collect [revenues of] more than P1 trillion,” Purisima said.

Internal Revenue has already raised its target collection from professionals and other self-employed people to P222.28 billion for this year, an increase of 15 percent from last year’s projected revenue of P192.72 billion.

Income taxes from individuals account for more than 20 percent of Internal Revenue’s tax collection, and the bulk of it comes from salaried individuals whose income taxes are automatically withheld by their employers.

Purisima has said the incidence of tax evasion among professionals in the country is high, and that’s the reason Internal Revenue has been going after tax cheats more vigorously. Internal Revenue has been filing cases against professionals such as doctors and lawyers.

The Professional Regulation Commission lists some 3 million registered professionals, of which around 190,000 are high-earning doctors and lawyers. The rest are accountants, engineers, nurses and seafarers.
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