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Pacquiao’s tax woes cloud latest victory

Manny Pacquiao, left, of the Philippines, trades blows with Timothy Bradley, in their WBO welterweight title boxing fight Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Las Vegas. Pacquiao won the bout by unanimous decision. (AP

MANILA, Philippines—After Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao thoroughly outclassed Timothy Bradley last Sunday, who’s next for boxing’s only eight-division champion?

The overwhelming consensus among boxing fans is the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a highly anticipated bout expected to become the richest in boxing history.

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But first the Pacman will have to deal with the local taxman, Commissioner Kim Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Henares was on radio on Monday reminding the boxing superstar of his tax liabilities, which were estimated at P2.1 billion as of December 2012 alone. In a radio interview,  she said the assessment did not yet include interest.

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But a Malacañang spokesperson said on Monday that Henares was not out to play “spoiler to [Pacquiao’s] victory.”

“We don’t quite think that Commissioner Henares intends to be in any way disrespectful, or that her manner any way tends to lessen the honor that Manny Pacquiao has brought to the country,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press conference.

“We don’t mean to make it hard for Congressman Pacquiao.”

One reporter told Valte about negative reactions online to the BIR’s pursuit of Pacquiao. She said Henares was just “very focused on her job and on her mandate.”

“I don’t quite think that she intends to be offensive. She’s just doing her job,” she said, recalling that Pacquiao’s camp had been “working” with the BIR on how to settle his tax liabilities.

Last December, President Aquino paired Pacquiao with Henares during a shooting competition at the Presidential Security Group’s firing range.

But Malacañang was quick to clarify that the affair didn’t mean that the BIR was letting Pacquiao off the hook.

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“The BIR case on Representative Pacquiao’s tax accountability continues to be pursued and he is still required to fulfill all his legal obligations to the government,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said then.

Aside from his local tax deficiencies, Pacquiao is also facing a similar problem with the United States’ Internal Revenue Service, which was reportedly seeking $18 million in back taxes.

Last year, the IRS issued a levy on Pacquiao’s bank accounts in the US to recover the alleged tax liabilities covering 2006 to 2010. The boxer had also been issued a “notice of federal tax lien” amounting to $18,313,669.

Last December, Pacquiao’s Philippine lawyer Tranquil Salvador said the “IRS liens on his properties and bank accounts” had been “vacated,” meaning the boxer “has satisfied the requirements of the US law.”

A USA Today report last April 11 raised the possibility that part of Pacquiao’s $20-million guaranteed purse for the Bradley fight might go to the IRS.

Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser, was quoted as saying that “in America, there’s no issue of tax evasion or nothing.

“The major issues here are about four categories of tax deductions. We have a tremendous accounting team working for us. We have great tax lawyers working for us,” he told USA Today.

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TAGS: Abigail Valte, Bureau of Internal Revenue, executive department, Income Tax, kim henares, Malacañang, Manny Pacquiao, News, Office of the President, Philippine Government
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