There’s nothing like a conversation about taxes to get your blood moving. The conversation is as lively as ever in the Philippines, where gaps in tax collection have resulted in many disputes before the Court of Tax Appeals. This special court hears the full gambit of tax cases, from disputes over property taxes to criminal prosecutions against tax evaders. Deciding these cases requires specialized knowledge of accounting as well as tax law—knowledge that will be essential in improving the Philippines’ revenue collection.
Cognizant of this, the court and key stakeholders are holding dialogue on how to increase tax law and accounting knowledge among court operators. On February 24, the court held a focus group discussion at the Traders Hotel in Manila with representatives from the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Local Government and Finance, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the accounting firm SGV & Co. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)—with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development—helped the Court of Tax Appeals and the Supreme Court’s Philippine Judicial Academy organize the event.
Court of Appeals Justice Juanito Castañeda, Jr. provided an overview of taxation concerns in the Philippines, describing ongoing initiatives to improve tax collection. Scott Ciment, ABA ROLI country director in the Philippines, also spoke at the event, emphasizing the need to remove impediments to economic growth by improving revenue collection.
Participants discussed the principal problems with the Philippines’ tax system and identified training areas for the accountants and lawyers that provide adjudicative support to the justices of the Court of Tax Appeals. Trainings will be held in early May and will address areas such as basic taxation principles and international best practices.
To learn more about our work in the Philippines, contact the Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].