MANILA, Philippines—One hundred forty-five professional basketball players voluntarily attended a tax briefing at the Bureau of Internal Revenue headquarters in Quezon City after the BIR filed tax evasion complaints against two of them.
Last March 14, the BIR lodged cases at the Department of Justice against Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters teammates Jim Olmedo Alapag and Jared Ryan Dillinger.
On Monday, Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner Chito Salud said the league initiated the holding of the forum.
“These (cases) are honest mistakes because the players don’t know what should be done,” Salud said in an interview after the forum. “There was no bad faith or intention to defraud the government of revenues.”
“We approached the BIR for this because we want the players educated (in tax matters) lest there may be more of these (complaints),” he added.
During the forum, Salud reiterated his call for PBA players to meet their tax obligations, especially because of their status as role models to the young.
Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Nelson M. Aspe, who presided over the briefing, commended the players for coming to the BIR voluntarily and without any summons or subpoena.
“By coming here, we are able to help you increase your tax awareness that will ensure compliance and avoid consequential non-compliance troubles like a tax case,” Aspe said.
The discussion touched on what taxes the players are liable to and what expenses are allowed as deductions to taxable income.
In the complaint filed with the DOJ, the BIR said Alapag failed to file his income tax returns (ITRs) for taxable years 2007 to 2010 and that he also failed to file his value-added tax (VAT) returns from 2007 to 2012.
The BIR estimates Alapag’s total income for those years at P32.28 million. For the seven-year period, the bureau said he should pay the government P17.86 million in taxes, including surcharge and interest.
As for Dillinger, the BIR alleged that he did not file his ITRs from 2008 to 2011, his percentage tax return for 2008, and his VAT returns from 2009 to 2012.
The agency estimates that Dillinger as a basketball player earned a total of P22.19 million from 2008 to 2012. The BIR pegs his tax deficiency at P13.37 million, including the surcharge and interest.
Alapag and Dillinger both attended Monday’s forum. Dillinger said in an interview after the briefing that his tax problem was being attended to.
“It’s being cleaned up and I hope it gets finished very soon,” he said. “Having attended this forum, I know now what’s supposed to be done.”
In a short speech at the start of the forum, Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares gave the players a tip: pay taxes with checks and spell out BIR to ensure that payments go to the government.
Last week Henares said the BIR has discovered instances when the tax practitioners hired did not pay the taxes and the taxpayer had to shell out the money to pay for the taxes twice.
Aspe told the PBA players they should hire accountants listed in the BIR’s roster of accredited professionals to prepare their tax filings.