It is not just eight-division titleholder Manny Pacquiao's guaranteed $20 million purse that Philippine taxwoman, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares, is after but also the winnings of Filipinos who bet on the Saranggani representative's victory in the ring.
Henares pointed out that gambling winnings are taxable, but losses are non deductible. But at the same time, she admitted it would really be difficult to trace who won in wagers, except perhaps those who bet really big sums of money and got back a pile after Pacquiao won in a unanimous decision over erstwhile unbeaten American boxer Timothy Bradley on Saturday, and then engages in conspicuous consumption by purchasing big-ticket items such as cars and houses or jewelleries.
However, Pacquiao is an easier target because of the published purse, plus he has several bank accounts which the Philippine tax agency had frozen in the past as well as real estate holdings that the BIR could seize if he refuses to settle his alleged 10-digit tax liability.
The Filipino boxer had actually contested the P2.2 billion tax liability being slapped on him and protested the freezing of his bank accounts since he had actually filed a case questioning the very large tax bill before the country's tax court and the lawsuit is still ongoing.
Pacquiao maintained that he had paid his taxes, but the BIR refuses to credit the payments he made to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the U.S.
Netizens have chided Henares for being a spoilsport and reminding Pacquiao to pay taxes to the IRS and bring home proof of the payment right after his fight, while the Filipino champ - considered a hero - is still suffering from 32 stitches on his eyebrow caused by an accidental head butt during the rematch.
But Henares replied that she was just responding to questions from media about Pacquiao's tax liability which just ballooned to P2.56 billion because the BIR already included his Saturday prize which will be slapped a 39.6 per cent tax rate or a whopping $7.92 million by the IRS.
Michael Koncz, who previously said Pacquiao could stop fighting in the U.S. because of the huge taxes on his prize money, believes the champ's problem with the BIR is politically motivated since the congressman representing Saranggani province has not hidden his plan to run for senator some day.