Manny Pacquiao

Uh Oh: Big Tax Problems for Manny Pacquiao?

| by Alex Groberman

An interesting story is developing on suspicious activity with boxer Manny Pacquiao’s taxes.

As first reported by ABS CBN News, the eight-division champion paid the Filipino government significantly less in taxes in 2009 than he previously had in 2008. Considering Pacquiao had two winning fights in 2009 against Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, the findings are odd to say the least.

According to the Philippines' Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Filipino superstar paid approximately $169,000 in taxes in 2009 compared to a whopping $2.8 million in 2008.

Pacquiao’s fight with Hatton earned him a reported $12 million payday. The bout with Cotto, including his purse winnings and pay-per-view earnings, generated around $22 million.

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The commissioner of the BIR, Kim Henares, has said that the bureau was surprised that the highly respected fighter only ranked 113th on the list of top individual taxpayers for 2009. In particular, it was interesting that someone like Pacquiao who sat atop the BIR’s annual list for many years would suddenly plummet for no good reason.

For their part, Pacquiao’s camp appears to be equally bewildered regarding this whole situation. Top Rank boss Bob Arum’s representatives have come out and publicly said that the reason for the discrepancy may be that earnings from the U.S. have not yet been reflected in Pacquiao’s accounting records.

However, Henares questioned this excuse by pointing out there was no legitimate reason for Pacquiao to not yet have the funds from his Hatton and Cotto fights that occurred a year ago.

Given Pacquiao’s almost holy status in the Philippines, this situation is definitely worth keeping an eye on.