“The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward.” JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES
By Alex P. Vidal
We must go to the bottom first. Who are the publicists of Manny Pacquiao who have been drum-beating about his exorbitant multi-million dollar ring earnings over these past five years?
In those years that I covered Pacquiao’s fights in the United States, I observed that these publicists did not report accurately Pacquiao’s real purse per fight.
For instance, if his purse when he fought Oscar De La Hoya on December 6, 2008 was $18 million plus shares in the pay-per-view, publicists reported that he bankrolled $35 million excluding shares in pay-per-view. When he got $12 million against Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009, they reported in press releases that the Filipino fighter ran away with a whooping $25 million minus PPV shares. When Pacquiao pocketed $14 million versus Miguel Angel Cotto on November 14, 2009, they parroted that he collected $25 million minus PPV share. And so on and so forth.
I couldn’t understand why they had to bloat Pacquiao’s ring earnings in media. They probably thought “anyway, it’s just a news item and people won’t really mind how much he earns as long as he always wins.” In most articles, they reported the total sum of Pacquiao’s cash prize without stating the cuts taken for the trainer’s fees, among other slices and deductions.
If their intention is to confuse the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States, definitely their gimmick defies logic. The more that Pacquiao earns, the more taxes he must pay. The Forbes Magazine has listed him as one of the top 20 richest paid athletes in the world with estimated worth of $100 million.
If their purpose is to portray Pacquiao as one of the highest paid professional athletes in the planet in the league of Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Romario, Roger Federer, and Kobe Bryant, the braggadocio has backfired.
Their false reportage has hurt Pacquiao and he is now experiencing the damage done by that inaccuracy.
Aside from IRS which does not distinguish whether you are a world champion or a patsy as long as you earn and owes taxes to government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the Philippines has also been doing its homework.
Since the tax agency is claiming that it has not received Pacquiao’s tax records with the IRS despite repeated requests, it is possible that it based their estimates of his total earnings or earnings obtained in 2008 to 2009 from these reports–or from taxes he paid in the past, among other sources.
The BIR is hot after the heels of the most celebrated world boxing champion in connection with the P2.2 billion case filed against him for back taxes — including interests and surcharges. BIR chief Kim Henares confirmed they have started garnishing some of the boxer’s bank accounts.
It’s the job of Pacquiao’s accountants and probably lawyers to handle the problem, and they must deal with the BIR in the most professional manner sans media hoopla and blunderbuss if they hope to ferret out a win-win solution.
They must produce necessary documents showing that the rich athlete has been paying taxes religiously and there was no intention whatsoever to hoodwink the government or dodge his basic responsibility as a Filipino citizen. Bob Arum has volunteered to save Pacquiao from the abyss by producing the IRS papers.
Like any ordinary citizen or businessman, Pacquiao should immediately settle whatever taxes he owes the Philippine government–if the evidence warrants– without the need to swap brickbats laced with political undertones against politicians allied with the government.
We are always reminded of Al Capone when we remember the popular adage that says, “You can’t fight city hall.”