Manny Pacquiao’s Tax Problems are Nothing But a Distraction

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao should have been at the top of the world last week. Coming off dominating Brandon Rios in a match that everyone agreed he had to win, the Filipino star looked like he was officially back and ready for more fierce competition.

One day later, his big victory was an afterthought.

Less than 24 hours following Pacquiao-Rios, reports began to leak out that Pacquiao was having money problems – again. The seriousness of the problems varied depending on the source, but there’s rarely a case when tax issues aren’t at least a somewhat legitimate concern. Immediately, talk went from whether Pacquiao’s next bout would be against Floyd Mayweather Jr. to if the former eight division champ was the latest in a long line of professional athletes who didn’t know how to keep their financial houses in order.

According to promoter Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s money issues are getting overblown.

“Filipino authorities confirmed that Manny is not required to pay double tax,” he said in a statement last week. "If Manny paid U.S. taxes for fights and endorsements that occurred on U.S. soil, he is not required to pay double taxes in the Philippines."

"For each of Manny’s fights that occurred in the United States, including those in 2008 and 2009, Top Rank withheld 30 percent of Manny's purses and paid those monies directly to the Internal Revenue Service via electronic funds transfer,” he continued. “Top Rank has deposit confirmations for each payment. Top Rank has done the same for all U.S. endorsements it has facilitated on Manny's behalf. Top Rank submitted copies of the EFT deposit acknowledgements to the Bureau of Internal Revenue as proof of payment.”

To hear Arum tell it, Pacquiao’s tax issues really aren’t issues at all.

Here is the reality of this whole mess: Pacquiao has been dealing with bookkeeping problems of some sort for many years now. Whether it’s legal battles with his old accounting firm or his current predicament, there always seems to be a cloud hanging over the Filipino star when talk turns to money. That being said, he always comes out of these things unfazed. There is no reason to believe that this situation will be any different.

Until we hear otherwise, it’s best to chalk this matter up to being a distraction – nothing more.