The Common Sense of Taxation

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By: Jill Elicaño-Tan, Empower

 

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The DSAP member companies were treated to a unique view on taxation by Ms. Divine Grace Fresco of ETM Tax Agent Office, our guest speaker for the 2nd DSAP GMM of 2015.

In her entertaining yet very informative talk, she emphasized seven (7) key facts of taxation.

  1. Tax is a Spiritual Law
  2. Tax is a simple form of “Following Instructions”
  3. Miscommunication is Capitalized
  4. Everything starts with a decision
  5. Ignorance is expensive
  6. Tax is a simple procedure
  7. Taxpayers are bosses and stakeholders of the nation

Her unique take on explaining taxation began by saying that even in the Bible, although shunned by people, there were tax collectors. Taxation is therefore a basic principle, a part of natural human activity that exists in civilizations.  As Benjamin Franklin said, the only thing certain in life are death and taxes.

She went on to explain that the underlying principles of taxation are simple and logical, and when understood fully, is actually the most basic form of following instructions.  However we must take an active role in seeking to understand taxation and tax laws in our country. It is our responsibility to be educated. As citizens of this country, we should understand the different taxes we pay, and the procedures we must follow.

There are many avenues for us to learn – books, the internet, classes, and seminars.  There are numerous tax textbooks and reference material, short and long-term tax courses, and proliferation of legitimate tax consultants.  So there is simply no excuse for ignorance. That being said, as our esteemed speaker pointed out, ignorance is expensive.

Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith – Article 3, New Civil Code of the Philippines.

We can be exploited, taken advantage of, experience loss of time and/or money due to ignorance of proper tax laws and procedures. While honest mistakes, or a lack of knowledge on proper procedures and laws allows our conscience to be clear, this argument will not hold water with our government, nor will it protect you from prosecution in a court of law.  So, given that the actual laws and procedures are readily accessible, and there are multiple channels available for any individual to further their knowledge, there is simply no excuse, unless one wants to pay the hefty fines and penalties for tax noncompliance.

It is our obligation as employees, employers, business men, business owners and citizens to pay our taxes. We must play our part in nation building.  Our taxes go toward law enforcement, protection of property, economic infrastructure, public workssocial engineering, and the operation of government itself.  Therefore, Ms. Fresco’s 7th Key Fact really holds true, that we, as taxpayers are bosses and stakeholders of the nation.

The greatest message from this very enlightening talk is that we must invest in our education, it is better to spend to learn rather than spend to waste. Let us make use of our time and hard-earned revenue in the correct manner. After all, what individual or business would want to risk their income on wrong procedures, penalties, and fines?  While her talk was truly interesting and full of witty anecdotes, the bottom line is, listening to Ms. Divine Grace Fresco really puts taxation into the proper perspective. And makes us realize, that truly, the concept of taxation and paying taxes is common sense.