The real reason why Filipinos are afraid of paying tax
Why tax is not as scary as you think
“People fear it because they don’t understand it,” says Atty. Ma. Louella “Peaches” Aranas, a successful tax lawyer and managing partner at LMA Law, a boutique firm in Makati specializing in taxation and corporate law. “Maybe tax is so foreign to them that it’s difficult to understand. And if you don’t understand something, takot ka.” With over 20 years of experience in the private tax and corporate practice, Atty. Aranas has been advising her clients to pay their taxes correctly and has observed that most problems stem from people being afraid of tax. But how do we take out this fear? Atty. Aranas, who was former Director for the Tax Division at SGV & Co. for almost 10 years, believes that it can be achieved by starting to educate the young minds in a less intimidating and more relatable way. “Introduce the concept of taxes at an earlier age and help them to think about taxes by asking the right questions: What is taxation?, Where does the money go?, What is it used for?, Why do you need to pay taxes?” These basic and important questions about our tax obligation can help people start thinking and acting accordingly. Another reason could be the fear of corruption. “People will always have this negative view of taxation and government,” says Aranas. Living in a country with notorious corruption scandals amplifies the fear, but that doesn’t mean it ceases to be your civic obligation. People refuse to pay their taxes as some sort of protest to the government, which she stresses, is a wrong mentality. “What makes you not corrupt [if] you're also not paying your taxes? You're just like the rest of them,” she added.