Pacquiao drops to No. 2; Ng is No. 1
Boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has “lost” the crown he held in 2013 as the highest individual taxpayer in the country to the founder and owner of a homegrown biscuit manufacturer.
A list released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Friday showed that Chinese-Filipino tycoon Jacinto L. Ng paid the highest amount of regular income taxes totaling P280.1 million in 2014, citing data as of Nov. 10.
With a net worth of $275 million, Ng, who owns Republic Biscuit Corp., is ranked 36th in the “Philippines’ 50 Richest” list for 2015 put together by the United States-based Forbes Magazine.
The topnotcher on the Forbes list, another Chinese-Filipino tycoon and the founder of the SM Group, Henry Sy Sr., was only 53rd, paying $25.7 million in taxes in 2014 against a net worth of $14.4 billion.
Pacquiao, who ranked first in the list of 2013 top individual taxpayers released in March, paid P210.3 million in 2014— higher than the P163.8 million in regular income taxes that he paid for taxable year 2013— ending up second to Ng.
Ranked third was Vivian Que-Azcona, the president of Mercury Drug, with P153.6 million in taxes.
Palawan Gov. Pepito Alvarez was the fourth highest taxpayer last year, paying more than P73 million.
Ng’s son, Jacinto Jr., was in fifth place with P66.9 million in taxes paid in 2014.
President Aquino’s sister, television host and star Kris Aquino paid the sixth highest amount of P54.5 million.
Telco executive Ronaldo Romero Soliman paid taxes amounting to P53.5 million, while beverage executive William Schultz shelled out P51.3 million last year.
San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang was in ninth place, paying P51.1 million in income tax in 2014.
Rounding out the top 10 was Lauro Castro Baja III of Swiss Bank UBS, whose regular income taxes reached P50.7 million during the period.
Entertainment celebrities Sharon Cuneta, John Lloyd Cruz, Anne Curtis, Vic Sotto and Piolo Pascual were among the top 50 highest-paying Filipinos last year.
Of the country’s most prominent businessmen, Danding Cojuangco was in the 11th spot, while Ayala Corp. top brass, the brothers Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, were at 23rd and 25th, respectively. Alliance Global Group’s Andrew Tan placed 36th and Metro Pacific group’s Manuel V. Pangilinan was ranked 44th.
Henry Jr., the son of the richest Filipino Henry Sr., outranked his father, placing 49th after paying P26.3 million in taxes in 2014.
The BIR releases to the public the list of 500 top individual and corporate taxpayers annually in keeping with the requirements of Republic Act No. 9480, or the Philippine Tax Amnesty Act of 2007.
Ng, the country’s highest taxpayer in 2014, heads the Rebisco Group which includes Republic Biscuit Co. (Rebisco), Asia United Bank, Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg, Crystal Jade and Elanvital Enclaves, among other companies.
His son and namesake serves as the CEO of real estate developer Elanvital.
Pacquiao—with estimated earnings of $160 million—was not only the world’s second highest-paid athlete in 2015 but also the world’s second highest-paid celebrity after Floyd Mayweather Jr., according to Forbes.
Pacquiao’s earnings from his May 2 bout with Mayweather have been estimated at $125 million. Forbes said endorsement deals with Nike, Foot Locker, Wonderful Pistachios, Nestle’s Butterfinger and other deals in the Philippines further padded Pacquiao’s income.
Azcona, who ranked 22nd in the Forbes richest Filipinos list, has an estimated net worth of $780 million. Azcona’s family operates the Mercury Drug chain, which has at least 1,000 stores and employs 11,000 people.
Alvarez is the incumbent governor of Palawan. Alvarez’s family’s car dealership is the distributor of Kia and several high-end automobile brands in the Philippines.
Kris Aquino, the President’s youngest sister, is one of the country’s highest-paid product endorsers.
Soliman serves as CEO of Graceland Properties Development, latest data from the Securities and Exchange Commission showed.
Schultz is CEO and president of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines.
With an estimated net worth of $510 million, Ang, the president of San Miguel Corp. business conglomerate, ranked 29th in the Forbes richest list.
Baja is managing director of UBS Philippines financial services firm.
Income tax only
The BIR earlier explained why several individuals who landed on the Forbes richest list ranked relatively lower in, or were altogether absent, from its top taxpayers’ roster.
It said the annual list of top individual taxpayers in the Philippines published by tax authorities as mandated by law, is based on the taxes that individuals are required to pay based on transactions—not the static level of assets that a person owns.
This means a tycoon with much bigger assets may trail behind someone in the amount of income taxes paid.
The list of top individual taxpayers excluded those whose taxes were withheld and paid on their behalf by companies that employ them, the BIR added.
Thus, a person who owns a company and serves as its top official may not find himself on the list if the firm paid the taxes on his behalf.
The BIR explained that the list takes into account only income tax paid and not other taxes. It noted that many business personalities were generating a significant portion of their earnings from dividends from shares of stocks, which are taxed differently from the regular income tax.
Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares further explained that celebrity endorsers like Kris Aquino, who earns millions of pesos from product endorsements and TV shows, may be earning more than a business tycoon whose assets are in the form of shares of stock. (Dividends from stocks are subject to a 20-percent final withholding tax and not subject to further levies.)
In the same vein, most of the country’s richest like those on the Forbes list are business owners whose stockholdings are subject to taxes on dividends instead of income taxes. With a report from Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives, bloomberg.com, forbes.com