The Finance department has discovered that some lawyers in Bacolod City have paid an income tax of P200, in Pampanga paid P400, and some media practitioners in Quezon City paid P746, all of which are payment for a whole year.
Thus, the government will now prioritize the audit on self-employed individuals by auditing those who have paid income tax of less than P200,000 in recent years.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares, in a briefing yesterday, said she has signed a Revenue Memorandum Circular that will prioritize the audit on individuals who pay an average of below P200,000 income tax, whose income tax growth rate is below 35 percent, and whose gross revenues did not increase by more than 40 percent year-on-year.
She said they can audit these taxpayers as far as three years back.
“The priority is on self-employed professionals and some industries like restaurant and online transactions,” she said.
Citing Bureau of Internal Revenue data, Henares explained that there are about 1.8 million self-employed taxpayers but only 402,000 have filed their income tax return.
She said the 1.8 million tax payers is “very conservative” while the 400,000 tax payers are “unbelievable” noting that based on Professional Regulatory Commission data as of 2012 there are about 2.05 million active professionals in the country.
Citing Department of Trade and Industry figures, the BIR Commissioner said there are about 2.9 million formal earners in the country while data from the Social Security System show that there are about 687,011 active self-employed members.
During the same briefing, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the campaign against erring self-employed tax payers is aimed to widen tax base to 1.8 million, to increase the average income tax payment to P200,000, and to set benchmarks per profession and per industry.
He explained that an income tax of P200,000 for the whole year means that a tax payer is earning an average of P50,000 a month, which he pointed out “doesn’t really mean much nowadays” when it comes to lawyers and doctors.
Purisima said individuals who were discovered to have paid income tax way below their true value will be charged with tax evasion cases “as soon as we get all the details.”
The government will come out with print and TV ads for the campaign against erring tax payers after the Holy Week.*PNA