The much-maligned Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is fashioning a newimage: that of a professional, efficient, transparent and innovativeinstitution. This image is becoming a reality under the leadership ofCommissioner Guillermo Parayno, Jr. The good news – amid all theuncertainty, jitters, and antagonism in the pre-election period – isthat BIR achieved its collection target for 2003.
Taxation has always been a serious problem for the Philippines. Thisarticle enumerates a number of causes for this problem and puts forthseveral propositions to address it, while keeping in mind the essentialfeatures of a development-friendly taxation system.
Six months into the year, the government has already incurred a deficit of P119.7 billion or 92% of its P130-billion target for the whole year. This is unfortunate, as the current administration has staked its
credibility on a fiscal discipline platform. Its pronouncements
encourage the market to herd around expectations generated by deficit ceilings; unfortunately, breaches would then be perceived as signals of fiscal irresponsibility, leading to a weakening of capital inflows.
In his syndicated column titled “Reckonings,” Paul Krugman quoted the
now-classic statement of Gordon Gekko, the cunning corporate raider in
the movie Wall Street: “Greed is good. Greed works, greed is
right…and greed, mark my words, will save not only Teldar paper but
the other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”
That statement is real-world stuff. Wisely unstated (as befits shrewd
business), such greed lies at the core of the behavior of many
corporate executives who aggressively pursue super-profits for
themselves and for the companies they run. Although Gekko’s line has
punch and has become very quotable, its message is not new. It merely
echoes a basic creed of liberal economics that the “unrestrained
rivalry of egotism” is good not only for the individual but for society