ABS-CBN a good taxpayer – BIR

Published July 1, 2020, 7:44 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) maintained Wednesday that ABS-CBN Corporation regularly pays taxes, but at the same time balked at a pro-franchise renewal solon’s request to “grade” the company as a taxpayer.

“As a corporate tax payer… ABS-CBN Corporation has been regularly paying corporate taxes for the past years, BIR Assistant Commissioner Manuel Mapoy told ACT-Teachers Party- list Rep. France Castro during the joint House panel hearing on the shuttered network’s pending franchise renewal.

Mapoy, in his interpellation by Castro, said the corporation paid P15,382,423,364.16 worth of taxes between 2016 and 2019.

“For the year 2016, as far as our records are concerned, ABS-CBN Corporation ranked No.65 [among taxpaying corporations]. For 2017, No.275 and for taxable year 2018, No.339,” he said.

Asked by the lady solon to assess its performance as a taxpayer, Mapoy said, “I think the ranking of ABS-CBN speaks for itself…as far as the sales are concerned versus the tax payment, we need to collect more.”

At any rate, the BIR official said the television and radio giant has no delinquent account to speak of.

Castro, in an attempt to show the Bureau’s approval or disappoval of the corporation’s tax habits, then asked Mapoy to grade ABS-CBN using a scale of 1 to 10. “Pasenya na po teacher po kasi ako (I’m sorry, it’s because I’m a teacher),” she said candidly.

Mapoy laughed before replying, “That’s a very difficult question.”

Wednesday’s hearing – the 10th by the Committees on Good Government and Public Accountability and on Legislative Franchises – primarily delved on the supposed tax violations of the Lopez-owned network.

ABS-CBN’s previous 25-year operating franchise expired last May 4. It went off the air the next day.

Mapoy later told another pro-franchise renewal solon in AKO-Bicol Party- List Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. that the network continues to pay taxes.

“We are still collecting from them. Nagbabayad po sila doon sa naa-assess namin (They pay based on our assessments),” he said.

Another franchise renewal supporter, Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, learned from ABS-CBN Group Chief Financial Officer Ricardo Tan during questioning that the network has paid P71.5 billion in taxes from 2003 to 2019.

“Ito yung bilyon na pwedeng mawala sa atin…Ibig sabihin nito, napakalaking epekto sa ating ekonomiya (This also represents the billions that we stand to lose…meaning this will have a huge effect on our economy),” he said in the event that the network isn’t granted a new franchise.