Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Celebrating Tax Day: "Duh ... celebrate on your own."

Al Sabado

Well, guess what, I did just that yesterday.

After a two-hour wait at the bank to pay my March 2014 percentage tax due on the 20th, I headed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue-Regional District Office 045 of Marikina City. That was nearly 1:00 p.m.

Taxpayer #635 on queue. I just spent a long time waiting at the bank and so I was thinking of a less stressful way to endure another long wait, being the 635th taxpayer on queue at BIR-RDO 045. But definitely, with 265 taxpayers after me, I was left with no reason to complain. Besides, it's my fault to be there, when I could have filed that piece of paper (I mean, three copies of that) earlier.

With a "negative" taxable income, I already filed my 2013 income tax return much earlier, in the lovely Wednesday morning of 12 March 2014 at BIR-RDO 045. The tax filing that day was swift! No waiting. No queue. No hassle. "Done. Yay!" ... So I thought.

Few weeks later, I realized I forgot to file my quarterly tax for the months of January to March, also due today, 15 April, same day as the due date for filing the ITR. So there I was yesterday, concretizing my oath echoed by the BIR slogan: "I love the Philippines. I pay my taxes right."

BIR-RDO 045 was crowded, as expected. The background pop music and the free drinking water made the time worthwhile for taxpayers who awaited their numbers to be called. 

Since the number called was just around 200 something, I thought it best to go window shopping and so found an establishment nearby called Wilcon Depot. Now, bear with me; I probably am the typical modern-day cavewoman freelancer who hasn't been to malls as frequent as the normal kid in town does. But when I do, I make sure I find one that's never close to wasting time. Well, you can call this a free ad--yep, not earning commission here.

Googleable. Wilcon Depot is, I would say, one of Marikina City's best haven of finely accentuated fixtures and amenities for the home and business facilities. From toilet bowls, bath tubs, showers to the sophisticated details of wall decors--you can find them there. I had fun looking around the vast warehouse store and to think I'd been passing by the store even without taking a look at what's inside! Now that I've seen what's inside Wilcon Depot, I'm one of those who now say, "Don't miss it" when you pass by the area (along Marcos Highway in Marikina City). Yes, you may google that.

After an hour or so marvelling at the intricacies of the store, I thought about food--of course. So I left the store and started to look for--uh, Kenny Rogers Roasters was in mind. But the chicken resto isn't in the area, probably not just yet. So I found--jadaaan--Shakey's Pizza. I was hesitant to enter this resto because I once found Shakey's food too salty. Good thing, that wasn't the case yesterday.

With my first Bible, a 25-year-old KJV, I took my time to finish this hearty meal: a single Super Platter Pasta. It's not my usual to eat in a resto, but thought it appropriate to celebrate this way my fifth year as a freelancer-taxpayer. Note that the glass of milk isn't part of Shakey's menu; I ordered it for a similar price of their Super Shakes Choco regular. Why? Well, you're hearing from someone who might be a candidate for osteoporosis. So let's just say prevention is better than cure. 

Degrade, upgrade. When I returned to BIR-RDO 045, the number called was just 320+. So I strolled again and found, to my surprise, a similar object of my film essay (my subject was the keyword "degrade") at the university a few years ago--SM City-Masinag. My objective for shooting an SM mall back then was to convey how an arable land, like what we have in the Philippines, is degraded every time it's transformed into a commercial area within the metropolis. That concern may not matter to big affluent men, I know. But to small men, whose meager income emanate from agricultural land, it certainly does.

On another note, I've bought products sold only at SM, with freebies received for points earned after using an SM Advantage card for every purchase. But yesterday, I purchased an item not covered by this card. At the price of 50% off, I didn't have second thoughts purchasing the last copy (in that National Bookstore branch) of UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, Binagong Edisyon by Virgilio S. Almario. The first edition of the dictionary was released in 2001.

My treasured Tagalog dictionary wasn't spared from the floods of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). So when I came across this Second Editon of Diksiyonaryong Filipino in 2010, priced at around Php2,000 (roughly US$45), I dreamed about it. With a tight budget to consider, I just let it pass. Not so yesterday, when it only cost Php650 (roughly US$15).

Around this time, the number called was 450+. Reading through Virgilio Almario's "Paliwanag para sa Ikalawang Edisyon" (Clarification for the Second Edition) in the prelim pages of Diksiyonaryong Filipino kept me company.

More tolerable than facing tax evasion raps. People endured the long wait when they could just pack up and go home. It must be always easier to just pack up and go in any life situation. But sometimes choosing the easy way out isn't the best if not the right choice. If taxpayers yesterday didn't wait and then failed to return the next day, they'd be fined for not filing taxes (even without income) and that would be another gruesome process to endure.

This is not to say though that paying taxes is such a wasteful time. Not so. What's making the process gruesome, at least in my case, is my late filing of requirements. Had I not forgotten, I wouldn't have to go through a nearly distressing process. But wow, what a distressing process I have just had! That may not happen again, but I won't exchange all that for the usual swiftness you and I probably know. Honestly, I quite enjoyed the unplanned time I spent at the warehouse store, at the pizza resto, at the bookstore, even my time with taxpayers who squarely determined to accomplish what's right in the eyes of man and God: paying/filing income tax.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (1 Peter 2:13-14)

Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'...