PAGCOR, LGUs not remitting withholding taxes

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ADMINISTRATION and opposition lawmakers have crossed party lines in condemning the illegal practice of government offices of not remitting to the Bureau of Internal Revenue the withholding taxes of state workers.

Majority Leader Arthur Defensor and Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said they will file measures enforcing remittances on time and stricter penalties on violators.

The two solons reacted on reports that a total of P18.5 billion worth of withholding taxes of government employees in 2007 has not been remitted to the BIR until now.

Based on the financial audit analysis of the Congressional Planning and Budget Department, the national government has unremitted withholding tax of P2.8 billion, local government units have P2.5 billion and government-owned and controlled corporations, P13.2 billion.

The Commission on Audit report said the top agencies that failed to remit withholding tax collections are the National Power Corp. with P10.4 billion, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., P524 million, and Development Bank of the Philippines, P234 million.

For the LGUs, Manila government failed to remit P200 million, Caloocan, P189 million, and Quezon City, P139 million, Nueva Ecija, P129 million, and Quirino, P33 million.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has unremitted withholding taxes of P880 million, Department of Education, P287 million, and Department of Agriculture, P223 million.

“The government should look into that inefficiency and punish those responsible,” Defensor said.

He said the department heads or treasurers should explain why they failed to remit the withholding taxes which were already deducted from the salaries of government employees.

Defensor said it’s a bad practice that could affect the efficiency of the revenue collection system of the government as well as the availability of funds for important projects.

“We’re talking here of billions of money. That’s a huge fund, you can do a lot of things from that billions,” he added.

Zamora said that the minority group will initiate a measure on how to improve tax collection, including the remittances of withholding taxes.

“We should play fair when it comes to taxes. We should not only collect taxes from private employees but also from state workers. Kung naibawas na sa sweldo nila ito, dapat ang collection ay nasa BIR na,” Zamora said as he admitted that there is no law penalizing the failure to remit collections.