How To Save Money
In The Face of High Taxes
by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
December is usual reckoning month for settling financial obligations to the government, and also to the private people. This is because there is more cash inflows from productivity incentives, overseas remittances and farm receipts. It is also the end of the year. Recently I joined the throng of taxpayers frantically getting a chance to beat the deadline.
Paying correct taxes and on time are the citizens’ basic duty. It also provides a citizen 20 percent discount. It is preferable to pay taxes at the earliest part of the year to avoid paying penalties. It makes paying easier as it prevents lining up for hours at Revenue Collection counter. As I procrastinated in the past, I learned this as bitter experience.
Our modest semi-permanent house at Oyo Torong St. was taxed an average of P1,899.48 per year from 2006 to 2009. Notice of Advice from Municipal Assessors’ office, Kalibo came very late. Their reason: they could not trace my address. Good grief. Again through oversight for the two year period from 2010-11, I was taxed P1,637.10 simply because I paid it second week of December or only recently.
Had I settled this burden at the start of the year, I could have save P310.92 or 27.46 percent of total fees for the current year. If paid before the year ends, there is an additional P310.92 discount. A total of P621.84 savings from cost of taxation is a treasure had I been prudent enough.
I know there are many taxpayers who tend to forget their tax obligation as law abiding citizens of this Republic. We clamor for more public work projects, responsive governance and tangible changes, some people do not fulfil their role in the bargain. Actually governance is a two way process between those who are governed and those who govern.
Indeed taxes are the lifeblood of any civil society. One author aptly said, there are only two inevitable occurrences in life: death and taxes. At best we ruin the best intention of our elected leaders to govern if our coffers are empty or funds are insufficient. Pity Mayor William S. Lachica who courts or begs from members of the Legislature and Cabinet Secretaries for financial aid for his pet projects which enthusiasm and resourcefulness I greatly admire.
The Province of Aklan is decidedly on the right track in auctioning off several parcels of land whose tax obligation landowners failed to settle for several years. This public auction happened last November 18, 2011 at the Provincial Capitol building. This event was done before and may be held regularly each year to compel taxpayers to pay their taxes due. Moral lesson is to instil financial responsibility among stakeholders otherwise it will be too late to recover their property.
Apparently, this moral crisis does not happen in our Treasury but in the National Irrigation Administration as well. My cousin, Mrs. Dometila I. Tansiongco (US Balikbayan) who has a family property of irrigated rice land in Dongon, Numancia is confronted with a financial liability of P90,000. The total area is only 7,500 square meters but was not paid by her lessee since the early 1970’s. Based on Agrarian Reform Code leases are personally obliged to pay corresponding irrigation bills otherwise leasees are ejected from the land they are cultivating. Worse the farmer has several years of arrears in his lease contract payment in kind to the landowners. Keeping one’s cool can be difficult even though how sweet or gentle one is as this problem arises.
The above scenario is not isolated but pervasive. Engr. Rizalo Concepcion, Planning Manager of Capiz – Aklan NIA confides that starting in 2012, management of NIA be turned over to bonafide Farmers Irrigators Association. Indeed this can be a Herculean task given the pathetic revenue collection, deficient technical and management skills and largely aged farmers. The average age of Filipino farmers is 57, sickly and impoverish and obviously a declining force with no youth replacements.
Love of country is not manifested only through words but positive action. Let not the dream of our fallen heroes be undermined or cast in a bad light. Each one of us has a vital role to play in the art of nation building. The call to duty is to pay your taxes like irrigation fees promptly and continuously. This is the only chance whereby each one could be a hero.
Here’s a rejoinder from Julia Child. "The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile". /MP