Smart Communications No. 1 corporate taxpayerBy Daxim L. Lucas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—A surge in the use of social media and other Internet services among Filipinos helped Smart Communications Inc. land in the No. 1 spot of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) list of Top 500 nonindividual taxpayers for 2011.
Smart Communications, the country’s largest mobile phone operator, paid P10.24 billion in corporate income taxes, according to the list that the BIR posted over the weekend on its website. (See complete list.)
The country’s largest corporations and most influential brands made it to the list.
Smart Communications, a unit of PLDT, was followed by Manila Electric Co.—the country’s largest power distributor, whose ownership is split between the PLDT group, the San Miguel group and the Lopez family. Meralco paid P8.3 billion in taxes for 2011.
Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., the operator of oil and gas fields off Palawan province, came in third with P6.37 billion in tax payments.
Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares said payments made by these corporations represented the collections of the BIR large taxpayers’ service, which contributes 62 percent of the agency’s total revenues.
“Tax collections in this category grow at a rate that approximates the country’s economic growth rate,” Henares said in an interview.
Other companies on the list included energy exploration firm Chevron Malampaya LLC (P6.31 billion); food and beverage manufacturer Nestlé Philippines Inc. (P4.89 billion); beer maker San Miguel Brewery Inc. (P4.78 billion); telecommunications firm Globe Telecom Inc. (P4.52 billion); cigarette maker Phillip Morris Fortune Tobacco Co. Inc. (P3.71 billion); petroleum refiner and distributor Petron Corp. (P2.62 billion); and gold mining firm Philex Mining Corp. (P1.88 billion).
First Gas Power
Ranked 11th to 20th on BIR’s list were Lopez-owned energy firm First Gas Power Corp. (P1.49 billion); petroleum refiner and distributor Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (P1.32 billion); water utility Manila Water Co. Inc. (P1.29 billion); San Miguel-run power producer Team Sual Corp. (P1.23 billion); and consumer goods maker Unilever Philippines Inc. (P1.02 billion);
Casino operator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (P960 million); cement maker Lafarge Republic Inc. (P901 million); San Miguel-run energy producer San Roque Power Corp. (P885 million); Andrew Tan-owned alcohol maker Emperador Distillers Inc. (P863 million); and San Miguel-controlled toll road operator Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (P856 million).
All told, the top 20 corporations on the BIR’s Top 500 list paid a combined P63 billion in taxes, equivalent to 6.8 percent of the tax agency’s total collections of P924 billion for the year.
According to the BIR, the Philippine Daily Inquirer was the top taxpayer in the country’s newspaper industry, paying P89.4 million in taxes for 2011, landing it in the 184th slot.
Twenty-one places below it (205th place) was Philstar Daily Inc., which paid P82.7 million. Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. was ranked 471st with P29 million in tax payment.
In the broadcasting industry, the top taxpayer for 2011 was GMA Network Inc., which paid P546 million, ranking it 40th on the list, while ABS-CBN Corp. was in 125th place with P149 million in taxes.
For 2012, the tax bureau was tasked with collecting P1.05 trillion in taxes. BIR collections make up about two-thirds of the government’s total revenue for any given year.