The worst thing about Manny Pacquiao’s most recent legal woes is how completely and totally unnecessary they are. His current ongoing feud with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) over tax documents that he reportedly refused to give them is second in stupidity only to Floyd Mayweather Jr. refusing to give him a 50-50 split during fight negotiations.
A quick recap of how we got to this point: the BIR alleges that they requested certain tax-related materials from Pacquiao on numerous occasions. When he purportedly ignored said requests over an extended period of time, they brought legal action against him.
Shortly after legal action was brought, news spread like wildfire amongst some uninformed media outlets that Pacquiao was being charged with tax evasion. That, of course, is entirely false. Pacquiao is actually being charged for essentially being uncooperative with the government.
On Monday of this week, Pacquiao came out and admonished the BIR for harassing him. He maintained that he had always been square with the government about his finances, and that this campaign being made against him was built on misinformation and unnecessary attention-seeking.
Shortly after Pacquiao made those comments, we openly wondered why he was making bigger deal out of this situation than necessary. All he had to do to put this nonsense to rest was to present the relevant tax documentation that would prove that he’s disclosing all his finances. It’s a very simple fix, any which way you want to look at it.
On Wednesday, the BIR responded to Pacquiao’s recent comments by bringing out the big guns. As noted by ABS-CBN News:
Sarangani congressman and 8-division boxing champ Manny Pacquiao paid less than P7 million (approximately US$162,999) in income taxes for year 2010, the chief of the Bureau of Internal Revenue said Wednesday.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares declined to give the exact figure of Pacquiao’s tax payments for 2010 but told ABS-CBNNews.com that “it is lower than P7 million.”
She confirmed that the boxing champ paid P7 million in taxes in 2009, from a high of P100 million in 2008.
Pacquiao earlier declared assets at the end of 2010 at P1.13 billion ($26.3 million) and no liabilities, making him the wealthiest member of the House of Representatives.
Forbes.com magazine estimated he spent $7 million in his election campaign in 2010 while also earning $35 million for his two fights against Joshua Clottey and Miguel Cotto.
Henares also echoed our question:
Henares said she is surprised that Pacquiao is making a fuss over the tax case when he could just easily submit copies of his contracts.
Look, if this is just some big misunderstanding – Pacquiao will ultimately get vindicated. However, if he’s really playing games with the government and withholding information because he has something to hide, his credibility will take a major hit.
Accidentally not paying all of your taxes because you’re rich and didn’t notice it is one thing. Similarly, accidentally not noticing the government’s requests for your tax documentation is a forgivable offense. But lying about both? Nobody would emerge from that unscathed. Not even an athlete as beloved as Pacquiao.