Taxpayer Power

I bet all of us had asked ourselves the question at least once – “ why do I have to pay goddamn income taxes” ? If you’re one who hasn’t paid a penny on income taxes, lucky you for being alive, free as a wandering mountain goat with no liability to the society you live in .

We’ve all heard of the biblical phrase “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” . For some of us this would suffice as complete justification of paying taxes, for would we dare challenge the wisdom of providential authority ? Cesar’s rationale was plain and simple. The tax was payment for the privilege of living in his land. Since the ruler’s power in an autocracy is unlimited, payment of tax was a much milder form of robbery. Confiscation of one’s property would be more disastrous.

Some 2,000 years later , rendering things which are Cesar’s is still very much around but had morphed into a more complex activity. Autocratic kings and emperors are long gone and transplanted by so called democratic governments created by the people for the people, taxation had evolved into a gigantic financial machinery engaged in legalized extortion. Governments had made it law to take a cut of every penny a person or a business earns. Worse, it had gone totally rapacious by taking a cut on what we purchase, consume and inherit – to name a few. The dole out isn’t a one way street though. Since we are a more enlightened specie now compared to the days of Cesar, democratic governments are bound by law to serve and protect its tax paying citizens. Tit for tat. We pay taxes and we get service and protection.

Taxation is so entrenched in the people’s psyche, underscored by the proverbial quote “ nothing is certain but death and taxes “. Countries either prosper or retrogress through their ability to condition the citizens’ minds to pay taxes with the promise of providing better services like employment, education, health care – towards a better standard of living. Every country has its own unique tax grab formula in relation to the kind of services it proposes to offer. Come to think of it, the taxpayer wields tremendous power on who should get his hands on the government coffers. After all, it is the citizens who elect and install government officials to ensure that the tax they pay is being used to the optimum. The taxpayer has the power to boot out errant and under-performing officials. Government officials have to be wary and fearful taxpayer backlash because they can be fired during election day if they screw up in their jobs.

I am curious – what percentage of Pinoy voters pay income taxes ?  What percentage of able-bodied, healthy Pinoys never contributed a single penny since they were born ?  If I am a taxpaying citizen I would make every effort to make sure the candidate I vote for is one I can trust to manage the country’s tax revenues properly. If I am not a taxpayer, do I have the right to criticize government officials? Why should I expect something from the government when I am not contributing anything ? Say hypothetically, if ALL PINOY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE HONEST 😆 and none of them  is stealing a single penny, would the country have enough tax revenues to provide better services to its citizens, given that the population explodes by the millions every year?

I am saying this because the taxation model in countries that are considered more prosperous requires their citizens to contribute taxes anywhere from 20% to 60% of their income. The government in return provides services that elevate the standard of living of its citizens. Unless you’re a welfare democracy that relies on billions of barrels of oil underneath your country, prosperity is isn’t a fruit that falls from a tree.


I took this picture with my Blackberry phone. This was taken from a small Asian mall we frequent on the weekends to shop for bootleg DVDs. This little fast food joint has gone totally high tech. I was about to ask the vendor if the soy drink will come by snail mail or email 🙂 Funny that these kind of goof ups knows no country – could happen anywhere.


Took this shot from a train ad. Nothing spectacular really but just made me curious to check the website. I guess the ad was effective – on me that is 😉

24 Responses

  1. Of course, not for anything else, but it really makes a huge difference that there is no income (from employment) taxation in the UAE. Nakakaiyak ang taxation sa Pilipinas, as a taxpayer and as an auditor (pag tax season).

    That ad is generally effective. Naakakaagaw atensyon talaga.

    • good for you folks who don’t pay taxes to the government ! That’s the reason why people want to work in the oil rich countries in the middle east 😉

  2. “No taxation without representation”.

    It is also in every pinoy’s mind the inherent kleptocratic tendency of government officials that they resolve to not paying taxes properly.

    Except for my annual land tax, I don’t pay any taxes at all because I don’t derive my income from the Philippines. But they sure know how to squeeze every centavo from an OFW with all the “fees” they impose on us.

    • Good point – it is a chicken/egg issue really.

      which must come first ? People paying taxes honestly or politicians not stealing our tax money 🙂

      Of course. We are all familiar with the silly tax grabs like the NTC permit for owning a cell phone and the controversial excise tax and frigging permit fees for importing any device that uses “wireless technology” i.e., a laptop with wireless card 😦

  3. sa pilipinas masakit ang usaping tax talaga… hay.

  4. “Unless you’re a welfare democracy that relies on billions of barrels of oil underneath your country, prosperity is isn’t a fruit that falls from a tree.”

    Canada has lots of oil too but still imposes taxes on its people.

    That ad is strange !

    • Well, I guess the difference is the oil kingdoms or sheikdoms were built primarily on petro dollars from a single economy – oil production unlike Canada where it already had a taxation system for centuries before oil was discovered. But I do get your point 😉

      I had to check the website to find out what the heck it is about 😯

  5. Taxes are good in a well-developed countries BUT Pinas is quite another story…..maybe 3/4 of taxes are split by the politicians, or that’s a generous figure.

    Every now and then, I hear this Kris Aquino is the biggest taxpayer in the motherland? So, the billionaire Manny Villar is not paying taxes or some huge corporations, or the ABSCBN Kris works for? Even Pakyaw’s earnings in dollars when taxed in pesos should be big, (if he pays at all). I’m lost.

    I don’t get the ad….

    • how much tax money the Pinoy politicians are stealing – that’s the 64 dollar question hehe 🙂 We are quick to cast the blame on them an rightfully so. They ought to be hanged. At the same time, the typical Pinoy doesn’t also give a shit about paying income taxes. There are also those people engaged in the underground economy – buy and sell, services, farming who don’t pay income taxes to the government 😯

      I heard Kris is quitting her showbiz job coz she might embarrass Nonoy who is now president 🙂

      I didn’t get it either… until I checked the website 😉

  6. “The taxpayer has the power to boot out errant and under-performing officials…” – Tell it to the small town mayors/ jueteng lords and you’ll likely receive a nasty beating, worse, a bullet in the head courtesy of his private army. Truth is, we don’t really have a working democracy in these islands, what we have is a modern version of feudalism, with each town having their own petty rulers. 😀

    • You’re absolutely right. Feudalism still exists esp in the provinces.

      I am always curious – why can’t Pinoy voters for once, JUST FOR ONCE, boot out ALL INCUMBENT POLITICIANS in the country ? Maybe if politicians fear this backlash then they might, just might change.

      Again, looks like Pinoy voters never think of themselves as taxpayers probably because most of them don’t pay income taxes so they don’t give a shit about who to vote for 😦

  7. I also hate taxes, especially the sales tax 😦 I also hate eating in restaurants where you pay tax and tips that’s why I only eat in fast food places 🙂

    LOL on soy mail. That’s new for me 🙂

    • I hear ya. You get dinged with sales tax plus tips. You pay the government for having money to eat in the restaurant 🙂 and pay 15% for those who serve you. That sure looks really silly 😆

  8. I first started paying taxes at the age of seventeen, when I was working as a fast food service crew. At first I would look at my payslip sadly and mourn the amount cut from my minimum wage, but I soon got used to it.

    At one time I was working for this company who did some hocus pocus on its employees salaries. They would only declare a small amount so that we’d pay less taxes. They say they did it for the benefit of the employees. I, however, was not at ease with that. After a year or so, the company decided to declare our true salaries and so our taxes soared from just a couple hundred to a couple thousand. One colleague of mine raised the roof, and this person was this preachy, self-righteous brat. I managed to make her shut up by making her realize a good citizen paid proper taxes.

    After that incident my friends and I had joked about why we had to pay taxes, and created scenarios if there were none. We imagined Ayala as this place with high rise building but with dirt roads. We joked about having to walk to our building with jungle bolos cutting through foliage because there were no taxes, there was no Dept. of Public Works and Highways. Was fun.

    That’s how I see my income tax. I know that some of the money I contribute for the betterment of the Philippines go to the wrong hands but that doesn’t mean I should stop paying altogether. I see ugly roads but I see fine roads. I meet lousy government officials, but some good ones too. I see children going to public school and know that perhaps a little bit of my money is helping them.

    • As they say, the tax rules are written for the employee. Businesses always have the ways and means to bend the rules by writing off so many expenses. The rich who are few have too much money aren’t worried about paying taxes. The poor who don’t work and the lazy ones who elect to freeload on their relatives don’t pay taxes. Who are left to bear the brunt of paying taxes ? The middle, working class.

      The dependency rate of Pinas is highest in Southeast Asia. This means that there are so many unemployed who rely on their relatives for support. The govt makes up for the shortfall in income taxes by imposing the VAT or consumption tax and through new permits and fees.

      We can argue about who is to blame for the economic crisis but when the house has financial difficulties, mom and dad try to economize and make their income meet the needs of the household or make extra income on the side. The worst they can do is continue making babies. Same is true with a country. Too much population growth in an already impoverished country puts too much stress on the already shaky economy.

    • Good point there. I just hope that the government will get better by and by when it will minimize its corrupt officials…

  9. de puta ang taxes… hehehehehe…

    speaking of, natawa ako sa tawag mo kay erap in my post… fat butete.. up until now napapangiti pa rin ako sa comment na yon…

    re: relationships in the workplace… it’s like asking for trouble… in that regard… I always follow the advice from a friend… “magkalat na sa cr, walang sa salas” … kulet no 🙂

    • no one likes to pay taxes. I remember when VAT or GST – was implemented here the Conservative Party lost the elections so badly. Imagine, from a majority in a 300 seat Parliament the Conservatives won only 2 seats ! It was so bad that the weren’t even given a party status because the member count was less than 10.

      But guess what. It was the secret recipe that brought the country into budget surplus which made easy for the opposition party that took over to take credit. The conservatives won again a decade later and reduced the rate from 7 to 5 percent. Taxation is a tough pill to swallow but effective if used properly.

      If Erap is a fat butete, what do you call Jinggoy ? 🙂

      True, stay away from office relationships if you value your job. Better safe than sorry.

  10. it’s sad that ordinary employees are the ones paying income taxes as they’re witheld by their employer. Not so for other professionals like doctors, artists and lawyers who charge much yet issue no receipts…

    office relationships? hmmm…a recent hot topic here in my own four-cornered world 😛

    • precisely the point because docs, artists and lawyers are professionals who operate their own businesses and have many ways and means to be creative with their tax liabilites 😉

  11. well, i dont have anything to say… every angst about taxes in this land called the Philippines had been aired by all that had commented in this topic. but what i am concerned about is how the next president will go about the imposition of taxes. it is so funny that gloria is even giving unsolicited advices on tax increase. where have all the money gone?

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