finance

(Mis)Taxes For Sari-Sari Stores

Posted on

“A bad beginning makes a bad ending” ~ Euripedes

Laoag City – The slow and tedious, not to mention expensive, processes of registering a business and compliance with tax requirements with the Bureau of Internal Revenue make Teresita* question her decision to open a sari-sari store to augment her husband’s, a tenant farmer, income. For the privilege of operating a sari-sari store, she has to issue official receipts and deal with the BIR every month, for percentage tax** among others.

“Issue an official receipt for every sale even if the buyer didn’t ask for it, but if the sale is below P25 and the buyer didn’t ask for one, then you don’t have to issue a receipt,” the BIR officer emphasized during the tax  briefing at the Revenue District Office No. 1 in Laoag City. “If you don’t issue a receipt, you will be fined P10,000! If your customer asked for a receipt and you didn’t give him, that’s a fine of P20,000!” she warned.

“Everything is very confusing,” Teresita told her seatmate at the briefing. “To travel to the city every month to pay taxes, I will spend an additional P184 for public transportation expense,” she added.

Additional transportation expense is not the only additional costs Teresita has to think of is she wants to open a sari-sari store. Not only will she need to pay 3% of her monthly sales to BIR, but she also have to pay for the cost of printing official receipts. For a farmer and a housewife, just the additional P184 in monthly transportation expense is a lot.

Isn’t there an injustice in this tax requirement for sari-sari stores? Is it really fair to ask them to issue official receipts? Is it fair that sari-sari store owners, who are mostly marginal earners, be burdened with monthly tax compliance? Is it fair that people who barely earn enough to buy for their necessities are burdened with additional costs in exchange for the privilege of owning a sari-sari store?

When asked why this so much tax compliance burden for sari-sari stores, the same BIR officer said that the official receipts will help BIR determine if sari-sari stores are truly earning marginally. She added that it is not enough for sari-sari store owners to declare they are marginal earners, but they have to show BIR receipts that they only sold so much.

I understand the country, through the BIR, needs to increase its tax collections so it can improve basic services to the country, but ensuring that all sari-sari stores report their actual sales and requiring them to pay taxes on these sales every month too much of a burden? The combined annual sales of all sari-sari stores in the country couldn’t possibly equal the one year sales of PLDT which, as of 2013, was P 164.1 billions. So isn’t BIR efforts more aptly rewarded if it focuses its efforts in policing the country’s biggest corporations and ensuring that they pay the right taxes?

The cost of ensuring that every single sari-sari store comply with this rule and the additional benefit, increase in tax collections, are clearly not commensurate. Isn’t there a better, less onerous way for the government to collect taxes from sari-sari stores? With the combined brilliance of the people at BIR, I am sure they can think of something.

The tax rules governing tricycle and jeepney drivers and operators are an example of this brilliance. I don’t know how it is in the other parts of the country, but in the boondocks I call home, our neighborhood tricycle driver earns more than the nearest sari-sari store. Why not require sari-sari stores to pay a fixed amount of taxes every quarter? If Teresita is required to pay P750, which is equivalent to a total sales of P25,000, a quarter in taxes, this would still be preferable to spending almost P600 every quarter in transportation expenses for monthly tax compliance.

What is it with sari-sari stores that they are dealt with differently? Could it be that requiring sari-sari stores to issue official receipt with the threat of thousands of pesos in fines if they don’t is a sign of a wider epidemic? Is this the beginning of the slow death of common sense in BIR?

What will be the next result of this slow death of common sense? Maybe, ask the fish vendor at the wet market to issue official receipts, too?

*Not her real name

**Percentage tax is a computed as 3% of total sales and is paid monthly to the BIR

Liza M. Gaspar is a wealth coach and personal finance enthusiast. She also volunteers for the Rotary Club of Makati McKinley (rcmmckinley.org) and the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees (grlawardees.org). Engage her in a discussion about anything you fancy at http://www.thegirlninja.com, liza@thegirlninja.com or www.facebook.com/annalizagaspar

 

 

Advertisements

DTI Welcomes Indian biz Mission to PH

Posted on

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently received an Indian business mission to the Philippines that intends to explore potential business opportunities, and possibly locate and expand their operations in the country.

During the mission member’s courtesy call, Domingo noted the resurgence of the manufacturing sector in the Philippines, and the growth of capital formation in the gross domestic product (GDP) by 18 percent.

The mission was organized through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in New Delhi and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Domingo also noted that this mission is his second meeting with the FICCI. The first was during the First India-ASEAN Business Fair and Business Conclave in New Delhi, India in March 2011.

The FICCI is the oldest and largest top business organization in India. The history of FICCI is interwoven in India’s struggle for independence, industrialization, and emergence as one of the rapidly growing economies.

The FICCI has members from India’s corporate sector, including multi-national corporation (MNC), and enjoys an indirect membership of over 250,000 companies from various regional chambers of commerce.

“India is a huge market. The distribution is excellent and you just have to find the right partner,” said Kapil Rampal, deputy head of the delegation and director of the Ivory Education Pvt. Ltd., during the DTI business forum on doing business in the Philippines.

Rampal also mentioned investment interests in pharmaceuticals, bio and thermal energy (From Rampal’s presentation), motorcycles and auto parts, mining, infrastructure, and space and defense related industry.

Rampal added that the possibilities are more than enough, and suggested to look at possibilities of collaboration and be competitive at the global level.

During the business forum, Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP) Director Senen M. Perlada said that both countries can do so much, and noted that Philippine exports to India only accounted for 0.54 percent of Philippine total exports in 2013.

Total trade between the two countries grew by 8.7 percent, export by 8.6 percent, and import by 4.8 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to BETP data.

Perlada also mentioned possible products for promotion in India such as motor vehicle parts, electronic components, sanitary articles of paper (i.e. diaper, toilet paper), personal care products, high-end furniture, and garments.

Likewise, Board of Investments’ (BOI) International Marketing Department Director Angie M. Cayas mentioned the following sectors for promotion to India:  public–private partnership (PPP) projects, information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), tourism related investments, and other areas of investments such as the Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV) and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000, particularly categories B and D.

In an interview, PTIC in New Delhi Commercial Attaché John Paul B. Iñigo said that the delegation is happy, and anticipates another group coming to the Philippines in the next six months.

The 14-member business delegation is composed of companies from sectors such as agriculture, hotel, hospitality, education, infrastructure, airport, food products and textile.

At present, the following Indian companies have presence in the Philippines: Aditya Birla Minacs Philippines Inc., Hinduja Global Solutions Limited, L&T Infotech, Biostadt India, Lupin Ltd., State Bank of India, The New india Assurance Co. Ltd., Wipro BPO Phils. Ltd., Infosys BPO Ltd., Zydus Cadila, Claris Lifesciences Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Cognizant, HCL Technologies, Genpact Intelenet Global Services, Tech Mahindra, Aegis Ltd. (People Support), WNS Global Services, Syntel Inc., Apatech Ltd., Headstrong, Interglobe Technologies, Virtusa, and Tata Motors.

The BI is Making Ribbons out of Red Tape

Posted on

By Dong Maraya

The Republic of the Philippines suffers from widespread corruption. Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, and patronage.

According to a World Bank study in 2008, corruption in the Philippines is considered to be the worst among East Asia’s leading economies and the country has sunk even lower among those seen to be lagging in governance reforms. The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index published by global watchdog Transparency International, showed that the situation in the country had improved slightly but still remained serious.

Corruption exists in all levels of the government, especially among high-level civil servants. Companies generally have little confidence in the Philippine judicial system, and this is due to the allegedly incompetent court personnel, corruption and long delays of court cases.

Transparency International-Philippines said some of the factors that contributed to the Philippines’ slight jump are the improvement in government service, and cutting red tape.

Red tape refers to the rules that government personnel must follow to accomplish a task. Sometimes the governmental process seems cumbersome to us, especially when we want a quick answer. Many feel that the government establishes far too many rules or procedures with their numerous departments particularly their frontline personnel, which are closer to and more quickly responsive to the public.

The battle against red tape and inefficiency in our bureaucracy is never an easy task.  Red tape has long been embedded in our culture with Filipinos having to deal with voluminous requirements and seemingly endless processes with government agencies.

Eliminating red tape and averting graft and corruption has far-reaching benefits for our economy, such as cutting costs of doing business in the country which will in turn improve investor confidence and heighten our global competitiveness.

In the past numerous efforts were undertaken to curb red tape but these did not cause dramatic changes in public service. In some cases, red tape even intensified.

Delays in official transactions are breeding grounds and provide opportunities for corruption. Delays alienate people from their government aside from hiking transaction costs. Corruption makes the country poor and living in it is oppressive.

The Anti-Red Tape Act or RA 9475 of 2007 aims to promote efficiency and transparency in government with regard to the manner of transacting with the public by requiring each agency to simplify frontline service procedures, to formulate service standards to be observed in every transaction and make known these standards to the public.

The Anti-Red Tape Act required all government agencies to adopt and formulate a Citizen’s Charter. This refers to an official document, a service standard or a pledge, that communicates, in simple terms, information on the services provided by the government to its citizen’s. It describes the step by step procedures for availing a particular service and the guaranteed performance level that they may expect for that service.

Although the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has formulated a Citizen’s Charter of its own, Commissioner Siegfred B. Mison has moved anew to cut red tape in the agency’s processing of various alien documentations.Mison, in a recent operations order, directed concerned Bureau offices to strictly observe timelines in the processing of applications for visa conversion/extension and ACR I-Card issuance/renewal designed to expedite and facilitate the processing of said applications.Under the order, all concerned offices are directed to review, evaluate and indicate recommended action within a specific number of working days upon receipt, depending on the type of transaction.The BI Chief said his order to set timelines is aimed to improve, facilitate and expedite the processing of the applications.

All applications received by the Central Receiving Unit (CRU), upon making sure that all documents are complete and in accordance with existing checklists, must be transmitted to the concerned offices within the same working day of receipt.“There is a need to enhance the existing procedures and guidelines in the processing of these applications to eliminate bureaucratic red tape,“ he pointed out.Mison said there is also need some key reforms for the issuance and renewal of the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) to avert graft and corrupt practices and improve the efficiency of delivery of such front-line services.He explained that, under the BI’s “Good guys in, Bad guys out” program, foreigners with bona-fide intention to apply for appropriate visa are presumed to be “good guys” which should be extended tourist and/or investment-friendly immigration services.

OFW Remittances Boost Economy’s Outlook

Posted on

Buoyed by surging remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), consumer sentiment improved moderately in this year’s first quarter, raising prospects of better times ahead.

Based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP survey, overall confidence index (CI) showed an upbeat trend because of some positive indicators spawned by a resilient economy.

These range from availability of more jobs to increase in the number of employed family members and the emergence of more investment prospects.

Consumer confidence is measured using three indicators–economic conditions of the country, family financial situation and family income.

By income group, consumer sentiment was mixed with respect to their views on family finances and income.

The low-income group showed a consistently more favorable outlook, but the middle-income group’s outlook weakened, but turned more bullish for the next quarter and the year ahead.

In the same BSP survey, the high-income group had a less upbeat outlook but anticipated financial conditions to improve in the next twelve months.  Across income groups, confidence on the economic condition of the country improved.

The survey results also showed that the number of households with savings continued to pick up at 28.9 percent in Q1 2014 compared to 26.2 percent in the previous quarter.

Consistent with the higher spending outlook on basic goods and services in Q1 2014, consumers anticipated higher inflation in the year ahead. They expected the inflation rate to settle at 8.4 percent compared to 7 percent in Q4 2013.  This indicates that inflationary expectations could be stronger in the next 12 months.

Respondents are also of the view that the peso would depreciate against the US dollar in the next 12 months. Their perception could have been influenced in part by the recent weakening of the peso against the dollar.

Of the 560 households included in the BSP survey that received OFW remittances in Q1 2014, 97 percent used the remittances that they received to purchase food.

More than two-thirds (68.9 percent) of the OFW households allocated part of their remittances for education, 62.9 percent for medical payments and 45.9 percent for debt payments.

 

Reawakening of Subic

Posted on

Stung by the erosion of its competitiveness as an investment haven, the state-run Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA is stepping up its infrastructure spending in what could be a reawakening from years of complacency.

This year, the SBMA’s capital expenditure (capex budget amounts to P617 million, an unprecedented 6,740 percent increase over last year’s P9 million.

A big departure from past allocations, the SBMA plans to embark on more projects to improve infrastructure and facilities, as well as to further promote the Subic Bay Freeport view of rise of new rival Freeport zones in Vietnam, China and Myanmar.

Approved by the SBMA board of directors, this year’s outlay came on the strength of the agency’s record-breaking financial performance for 2013.

The SBMA booked last year an all-time net profit of P1.079 billion, its highest in its entire 21-year history. The SBMA’s 2013 gross revenue of P2.09 billion and earnings before interest, taxes,  depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of P992 million likewise became the highest in the agency’s history. The money will bankroll the acquisition of new dump trucks, service vehicles, and beautification of the Freeport, roads, and repair of infrastructure, airport, and other projects to make the Freeport more attractive to foreign investors.

According to figures released by the SBMA Finance Group, of the agency’s budget, P2.6 million will be spent on buildings and structures; P90 million on land and land improvements; P391 million on equipment outlay; and P134 million on information technology equipment, which received a budget of only P13,000 in 2013.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia appealed to SBMA officials and employees to continue looking for new sources of revenue to further improve the agency’s financial performance.

“We are already here at this level where we can provide for what we need. We are committed to spend not only for equipment and facilities, but for our people most especially,” Garcia assured. “But we must help each other to take SBMA up to an even  higher level,” he added.

The SBMA is also strengthening its law enforcement capacity to make the Subic Bay Freeport more attractive to investors and more conducive to trade and tourism.

“Let us all practice Kaizen. Let us not be contended with what we have achieved. Let us always aim to surpass our achievement,” Garcia said.

Kaizen, Garcia explained, is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement.

Garcia said that even as the SBMA posted an impressive performance in 2013, it should aspire for even greater accomplishments in order to remain competitive as a trade and tourism hub.

He pointed out that in 2013, the SBMA board of directors approved a total of P27 billion in terms of investment pledges, which was 800 percent more than the P3 billion recorded in the previous year.

Topping all other investment pledges in 2013 was the Korean firm Resom Resort, which committed P21.4 billion out of the total P27 billion pledges.

Garcia also said that the SBMA will be developing more areas for investment this year following the turnover by the municipal council of San Antonio, Zambales of the 10,000-hectare San Antonio Economic Development Area for conversion into an additional secured area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Aside from this, the SBMA has also worked out with the local government of Subic, Zambales for the free port expansion into a 650-hectare coastal land in the municipality that will be ideal for shipbuilding and ship repair.

Both territorial expansion projects will be utilized to accommodate the growing investment proposals being received by the agency, Garcia said in a statement.

Why new IPOs fizzle out

Posted on Updated on

opinyon-business

By Al Labita

TIME was when new initial public offers (IPOs) were selling like hot cakes, drawing a huge financial bonanza for the issuing companies. Because of low valuations such as price earnings ratio (PER), upbeat stock trackers used to flaunt them as the darlings in the share market.

Well, not anymore.

Lately, not a few IPOs turned sour, succumbing to the unpredictable vagaries of a stock market ruled by greed and speculation. Take aircon maker Concepcion Industries (CI) which fared miserably in its market debut. When listed last Wednesday on the Philippine bourse.

Amid a perceived weak market demand, CI shares fell by almost four percent to P25.15 apiece at the opening bell, a slip quite common these days for companies opening their ownership to the investing public for the first time. In more ways than one, CI’s over 50-year track record in the appliance manufacturing business failed somehow to impress upon the discriminating investors despite earlier road shows in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Poor Reception

Majority owned by the industrialist Concepcion family, CI had earlier planned to raise P2.7 billion from the IPO proceeds, the bulk of them to beef up working capital. What happened to CI appeared to be a market trend for new IPOs as traders opt for selective buying and selling positions in a market awash with newly issued shares.

Poor reception also spurred some companies to either downsize their IPO volume or pare down the selling price, obviously to woo investors’ interest in their shares up for grabs. Examples are tourism-oriented operators Travelers International and Discovery World Corp. which scaled down the volume of their IPO size and reset their market launch. Travelers, part of the corporate empire of ethnic Chinese tycoon Andrew Tan, operates the luxury hotel-cum-casino Resorts World, while Discovery owns a string of world-class hotels and resorts in tourism havens Boracay and Palawan.

High PER

Despite the much-hyped credentials like revenue stream, the IPOs of both companies failed to lift their stock price in their recent market debut. Robinsons, the retail wing of taipan John Gokongwei, also suffered a similar fate as its IPO price succumbed to selling pressures following an abbreviated market debut last month.

Why the slew of new IPOs lost their luster may be traced to the steep rise of PER of listed firms, now pegged at 19 times versus 2014 projected earnings, the highest in Southeast Asia, but comparatively lower than in Japan. The sudden shift of focus of cash-rich investors from emerging markets such as the Philippines to developed western counterparts also explains the outflow of foreign money.

Foreign funds – also known as hot money – account for 60 percent of the local stock market’s liquidity, hence their pullout usually trigger wild fluctuations of prices of stocks traded on the Philippine bourse.

Outflow vs Inflow

Latest data from the Bangko Sentral showed that US$20 billion flowed out from the equities market as of last month as against US$24 billion in inflow. High-yielding US treasury bills are now back on the investors’ radar screens after the American Congress eased last month the borrowing limits of the Obama government.

The spate of disasters in the Philippines and adverse projections of the economy next year also exacerbated stock market sentiments, driving out investible funds to the offshore capital markets. For six trading days since the other week, the bellwether Phisix index – the national economy’s show window to the outside world – shed by one percent to over 6,000 points, implying a depressed market.

As expected, the selldowns – pointing to a subdued capital plight – came across the board, pulling down share prices of big cap issues such as Ayala Corp., Megaworld and Petron Corp.

Time to Buy

But as punters love to say, it’s time to buy when share prices are down, ostensibly the key reason why state-run pension funds launched a multi-billion pesos buying spree. Despite slumping returns on investments from stocks in this year’s first half, the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Pagibig remain bullish on the equities market.

Amid stinging criticisms of its nearly four percent dive of profit from stock investments to P18 billion in this year’s first half, the SSS is setting aside at least 30 percent of its huge P350 billion investment reserve fund in equities, a risk the GSIS and Pagibig are willing to take–whatever the costs may be later–in a feast-and-famine market.

It’s a ‘Money Mad’ World

Posted on

by Francis De Guzman

IF you had a choice between contentment, character, and lots of cash, which would you choose?
Think carefully. Be honest. Or, if you could have all three, in what order would they come?

If cash tops the list, you will no doubt be challenged in the character and contentment categories, says book writer-commentator Joe Stowel.

 

(image credit: http://i.thestreet.com)
(image credit: http://i.thestreet.com)

A vivid picture of this reality is the on-going issue on corruption which sent shock-waves across a wide-spectrum of Filipinos from all walks of life, thus creating ripples that jarred the national consciousness. The high cost of “involvement” that named names among our VIP’s in government service, in now better known as the ‘Mother of All Scams’ (the Janet Lim-Napoles case, et al).

And this one seems to have something to do with “one’s obsession with personal gain.” The Good Book reminds us all that: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, not to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” – (1 Timothy 6:17).

In fact, Stowel would remind his readers that: “If character and contentment are priorities, we will be more concerned about others than we are about ourselves. We’ll be glad to give, not overly concerned when we lose, and not interested in cheating on God’s standards just to pursue personal gains. It will be obvious that character and contentment rule when we transition from greed to generosity.”

He further adds that: “In God’s economy, true riches are not measured in terms of cash. Riches are what we have in Him and what we do for eternity. And by this definition, all of us can be rich.”

The evils perpetuated by the ‘pork-barrel’ scam, has seriously affected the majority of our idealistic young people, who looked up to elected officials’ promise to “serve the people.” Take the example of these five young graduating high school students from the Mandaluyong City-based PAREF Woodrose School for Girls –Paulina Arceo, Vanessa Gonzales, Daniele Llantino, Ressa Marasigan, and Katrina Saria. Their young inquisitive minds have led them to question the very core of our nation’s leadership principles, as they sought justice via their ‘Letters to the Editor’ (as published by Business Mirror, dated September 27-28, 2013 Edition). It is here where they emphasized their determined plea: “It is time for justice. It is time for us to fight for what is rightfully ours, especially if we have been promised something. Our country still has faith in the future. We hope that, someday, these officials will learn and help our nation start anew. We hope they will change their ways and espouse moral values in order for our country to become united and strong. We believe that this battle for justice is not a fight of one person, but a fight of a nation.”

Indeed, our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, who wrote his famous books on the struggle for freedom, a century ago, has envisioned right –“The youth is the hope of the Motherland!” Will our nation’s present leaders, fail them now?

PRE-HOLIDAY ‘LOW-PRICES’ FOR CONSUMERS
Early holiday shoppers for low-prices of local and imported brands and groceries, stand to benefit from Cherry Foodarama’s pre-holiday offer.
Celebrating its 61st anniversary, the pioneering retailer is also giving away two-brand new Toyota Avanza during its grand-draw date 14Feb 2014 at its Marcos Highway branch in Antipolo City. The mart is likewise scheduled to re-open its original site at Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, with its 21stcentury three-floor size building that will accommodate the latest local and imported food and products.

US DALE CARNEGIE CITES PH BEAUTY TITLE HOLDERS
AMERICA’S top corporate training institute –Dale Carnegie sent its congratulatory messages to the country’s beauty holders –Miss Supranational 2013 winner Mutya Johanna Datul and Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism 2013 title holder –Joanna Cindy Miranda, who will be competing for the prestigious “Miss Tourism Queen International 2013” in China on first week October.

Ms. Miranda, together with Mutya’s Ms. Datul, who won the “Miss Supranational 2013” title held at Minsk, Belarus last 6th September, were classmates at their exclusive training course via Dale Carnegie Training, which was held prior to their respective global competitions.

The New York, USA-based Dale Carnegie opened its new Philippine office at Unit 600, 6th floor, VGP Center, 6772 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, with direct line: 844-2178, e-mail: oye@dalecarnegieph.com

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Wealth makes itself wings.” –Dr. Chuck Swindoll

WORD OF TRUTH: “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men. A man to whom God has given riches, wealth and honor, so that he wanted nothing for his soul of all that he desired, yet God gave him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger ate it: this is vanity and it is an evil disease.” –(Ecclesiastes 6:1-2)
***
(For feedback and comments, kindly e-mail: francisdeguzman@yahoo.com)