MANILA, Philippines—Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima on Thursday called on the newly minted lawyers to help in the campaign for greater tax compliance among the self-employed and professionals, particularly members of the bar.
“I hope that you start your careers by promising to pay the right amount in taxes and not help clients evade their taxes,” Purisima said in a statement, addressing those who passed last year’s bar exams.
Results of the exams were made public earlier this week, with 949 of 5,343 takers making the cut.
The finance chief’s call to lawyers comes as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which is under the finance department, embarks on a campaign to raise the yearly income tax payments of the self-employed, sole proprietors of businesses and those who practice a profession, to an average of P200,000 from the current P33,000.
The BIR has issued a memorandum stating that taxpayers who belong in this category and who pay less than P200,000 shall be the first to undergo an audit of tax returns.
The BIR is also considering filing charges against the same class of taxpayers who pay less than P30,000 a year.
Purisima said that in 2009, tax collections from this group made up about 8 percent of all individual income tax collections, but this share was projected to ease to 6.8 percent in 2012.
He said that among this taxpayer group, tax compliance “has historically been poor because of fraudulent business expense deductions, failure to file income tax returns, and inconsistent issuance of official receipts.”