Kris Aquino is top PH taxpayer

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – She’s been called many things—queen of all media, queen of talk, box office queen, highest paid celebrity, most sought-after celebrity endorser, and recently, the youngest—and the only controversial—presidential sister.

This year, Kris Aquino, or Kristina Bernadette Cojuangco Aquino in real life, has another superlative attached to her name: the Philippines’ top individual taxpayer.

Aquino paid P49.89 million in regular income tax in 2011, giving her the No. 1 spot on the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) annual “Top 500 Individual Taxpayers” list. In 2010, she placed 17th, with P32.3 million income tax paid.

Aquino paid higher tax than the two biggest television network heads and prominent businessmen, Manuel Pangilinan of TV5 and Felipe Gozon of GMA-7, and beat even her boss at ABS-CBN, Eugenio Lopez III, who was dislodged from the year’s list.

Other celebrities included in the list were “Eat Bulaga” hosts Vic Sotto (P14.7 million, 19th place) and Joey de Leon (P12.5 million, 28th, not 55th as earlier reported), Piolo Pascual (nearly P7 million, 123rd), Kim Chiu (P6.7 million, 133rd), Willie Revillame (P5.9 million, 181st), Sharon Cuneta (P5.74 million, 191st) and John Lloyd Cruz (P5.4 million, 205th).

Boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao turned in P6.1 million to the BIR, landing him in 158th place.

Aquino earned more than Sy?

Aquino paid higher income tax than the biggest names in Philippine business such as the 11 Filipino billionaires who made it to Forbes Magazine’s world’s richest list.

The BIR rankings were based on “taxable incomes” declared by the taxpayers in their returns.

The agency used to publish the taxable incomes, but it removed these from 2011’s list following repeated requests from those who didn’t want their earnings disclosed for fear they might be harmed.

In 2010, except for a few individuals, the rankings in terms of taxable incomes and taxes paid were the same.

Aside from Pangilinan and Gozon, the 4th (P26 million) and 10th (P19.6 million) highest taxpayers, respectively, other prominent businessmen on BIR’s 2011 list were:

The other Filipino billionaires—Enrique Razon, Andrew Tan, George Ty, Luico Co, Robert Coyiuto, Tony Tan Caktiong, Andrew Gotianun, and Roberto Ongpin—were not on the list. 

View the full list below.

BIR eyes higher collections

The BIR, which accounts for about three-fourths of government revenues, releases the annual list as part of earnest efforts to boost tax collections—the money government spends for infrastructure, and education and health care, two of basic services for the poor.

The list is meant to applaud individuals, who diligently pay their taxes, and encourage others to do the same.

This is done along with a name-and-shame campaign, which cracks down on people who cheat on their taxes.

The entertainment industry is one of those the BIR closely watches because the country’s biggest moneymakers are here.

The agency is hard pressed to meet its tax collection target of P1.25 trillion in 2013, up 17% from its 2012 goal of P1.066 trillion.

The release of the 2011 top taxpayers list coincides with the April 15 deadline for the filing of income tax returns. April traditionally brings the highest monthly collection for the BIR. – Rappler.com