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Philippines' famous pig gets roasting from tax agency

Publication Date : 09-01-2014

 

MANILA: To be sure, Filipino lechon (roasted pig, a famous dish during special occasions like Christmas and birthdays) sellers raked in huge profits during the last holiday season. They can cut the celebration, because the taxman is planning a roast and may send for them to serve as the pig. Unknown to them, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has been watching the industry and found it crispy enough to be served up at an investigation for tax evasion and under declaration of income.

 

To be sure, Filipino lechon (roasted pig, a famous dish during special occasions like Christmas and birthdays) sellers raked in huge profits during the last holiday season. They can cut the celebration, because the taxman is planning a roast and may send for them to serve as the pig.

Unknown to them, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has been watching the industry and found it crispy enough to be served up at an investigation for tax evasion and under declaration of income.

In its latest “Tax Watch” ad, the BIR says it has found that a third of the most popular lechon sellers are not paying taxes, while the rest are declaring “very low” income.

For instance, the BIR says in its tax-payment performance of lechon sellers for 2012, Mila’s Lechon reported an income tax payable for the year of only 5,099 pesos (US$114).

“Mila’s Lechon had 5,099 pesos income tax due, which is less than the price of its 18-kilo lechon,” the BIR says.

Sellers Three Little Pigs and Rico’s Lechon declared that they had no income tax liability for 2012, the BIR says.

Out of the 17 most popular lechon sellers in the country, six did not file income tax returns for 2012, it says.

The BIR named the six as Sabroso Lechon, Elars Lechon, Hecky’s Lechon, Jiro’s Lechon, Cris Native Lechon and Aling Loring’s Lechon.

Top roasters
The BIR lists 17 most popular lechon sellers, based on the published choices of online magazines Interaksyon, Choosephilippines.com and Spot.ph.

Besides Mila’s Lechon, Three Little Pigs, Rico’s Lechon and the six that did not file income tax returns, the other sellers in the top 17 are CnT Lechon (which declared the highest tax due of 465,270 pesos), Ulcing’s Lechon (123,255 pesos), Ping-Ping’s Lechon (93,456 pesos), Charlie’s Pritchon (67,282 pesos), Lydia’s Lechon (47,017 pesos), Zubuchon (32,697 pesos), Jun & Jun’s Lechon (17,259 pesos) and General’s Lechon (5,594 pesos).

They can start worrying, although the BIR earlier said the weekly “Tax Watch” was not making a conclusion that the businesses mentioned in it were tax evaders.

But tax officials involved in the BIR drive against tax evasion said those businesses were among the establishments that the taxman had started to monitor closely.

Should the investigation show that those businesses are violating tax laws, they would face charges, the officials said.

Charges filed weekly
To scare evaders, the BIR brings tax evasion charges every week against erring businesses and personages.

The drive aims to eradicate tax evasion which, according to the World Bank, costs the Philippine government an estimated 450 billion pesos in lost revenue every year.

US$1 = 45 pesos

 

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