The Bureau of Internal Revenue is stepping up on the gas pedal on its efforts to increase tax collection for this year and cover for the record-high budget deficit left by my favorite president Gloria Arroyo.  As the marching order of President Aquino to the BIR is fleshed out, it has already filed cases against big time tax evaders and says that many more cases will be filed in courts in the coming weeks.

BIR will also implement the Value-Added-Tax (VAT) on toll fees, a very obvious burden to all motorists that uses the expressways.  People are then to expect a domino effect as prices of goods being traveled will certainly raise and most probably, fare of public utility vehicles will follow suit to recoup the added financial burden.

But the more controversial one is for market vendors, tricycle drivers, self-employed individuals and small entrepreneurs to issue receipt in order for consumers to be protected and at the same time for the government to increase its tax collection.  Varied reactions were heard from all stakeholders; some are amenable while others don’t see any practicality for it.

The issue of taxing the public even more with the VAT on toll ways and at the same time making small-time entrepreneurs selling fish or vegetables or tricycle drivers gives us a view of a very one-sided stance of the BIR and the government; that is, it is and has always been anti-poor.

VAT for example taxes everyone but as always, the poor are the ones that are hit the hardest.  Unfortunately, while BIR is sounding its horn of running after tax evaders, taxing the public with the imposition of VAT on toll ways and the issuance of receipts of small-entrepreneurs, it has never said a word on one of the biggest loopholes of our public coffer maybe next in line to corruption, tax evaders and smugglers.

In the article of Alexander Remollino he shared that in 2005, the government has been reported to have lost P229.4 billion in potential revenues because of the tax breaks and incentives it gives to large companies and multi-national corporations.  IBON Foundation for its part said on its study that around P100 billion in potential revenues slip away because of the government yielding to the policies by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the removal of tariff.

From this we can already see how overburdened the Filipino people are from the money that easily drains away but when the government goes dry on funds forcibly task the poor to foot in the bill.

Tax breaks for big corporations and the removal of tariffs due to the policies being imposed by World Trade Organizations and international financial institutions if computed could easily cover the budget deficit that we have this year estimated to be more than P300 billion.

More than that feasible source of revenue for the Aquino administration is the clear anti-poor policies of the government that we see on running the government in line of its revenue collection efforts.  Administrations go in and go out of the Malacañang Palace but the neocolonialist policies of the government have been there seemingly its end not yet in sight.

When the government pursues pro-poor policies especially on its revenue-enhancement efforts only then that it will have regained power to tax the people.  And running after tax evaders is just but the very right thing to do as these are criminals who stole from those who does not have; but giving even more to those who already have is the government’s way of not only perpetuating poverty but of joining the gluttony.

The BIR and Aquino administration should bring back the tariffs on many imported goods not only to enhance government revenue but to also to protect our local industries, and take away all these crazy and non-sense tax breaks to big corporation if this new government really wants to institute “real change”.  It is time to stop overburdening the much wearied shoulders and the poor while the rich people laugh their way to the bank.

Image from Cartoon Stock

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