PUBLIC OFFICIALS in the Philippines are required by law to publicly disclose their income and their assets. But since that rule is seldom ever followed, then perhaps government should as well disclose the taxes paid by government officials.
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) founding director and Tony Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism director Sheila Coronel poses this proposal in her latest story in her investigative journalism blog Watchdog-Watcher.
Coronel argues that since government officials are supposed to set a good example for tax compliance, and since they are required to publicly declare their income anyway, then it follows that officials should also tell the public how much they pay in taxes. This is to show the public that government officials pay the right taxes. As well, this allows the public to cross-check their tax declarations against their declared income.
“Because they (officials) decide how the burden of tax payments is shared, then citizens should be told whether those they elect to office are carrying their fair share of that burden,” Coronel writes. “There can be persuasive arguments as to why heads of state, Cabinet ministers, and members of national legislatures should declare their taxes.”
Coronel adds that the disclosure of tax data could serve as an anti-corruption tool which was the case in Pakistan after the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIRP) published its 70-page booklet, revealing that two-thirds of Pakistan MPs “were not even registered taxpayers and therefore had no (National Tax Numbers).”
Read Sheila’s blog here.