Manny Pacquiao will face the toughest opponent of his career in Floyd Mayweather on May 2, but he is facing an opponent right now who may be even more dangerous — the Philippines tax collector. Pacquiao owes the government of his home country an astonishing $50 million in unpaid taxes from six and seven years ago, the country’s Internal Revenue Board Chairman says.
The question for boxing fans is whether the fight he faces with his own government — a government in which Pacquiao himself is a Member of Congress — could distract Pacquiao from his training for the upcoming Mayweather fight.
Pacquiao is projected to earn about $80 million for the fight, more than half of which could be eaten up by the allegedly unpaid tax bill — and that prospect might be enough to divert anyone’s attention.
The taxman is chasing Pacquiao even though the boxing champ is now, according to recently released documents, the single largest taxpayer in the country of about 99 million people. According to the records made public by the Philippines Bureau of Internal Revenue, Pacquiao paid more than $3.65 million — or about 164 million pesos — in regular income tax for the 2013 tax year, the most recent year for which figures were made available.
That makes Pacquiao his country’s top taxpayer not by a narrow margin — but by a long shot. In fact, “Pac Man” Pacquiao paid 64 percent more in income tax than the next-highest taxpayer.
But that matters not at all to the Philippines top tax collector, Kim Henares.
“The case is still ongoing. No, he has not settled… Being a top taxpayer does not mean he paid the correct taxes. The two are not synonymous.”
Pacquiao has stated that he believes he has not evaded taxes, but instead paid the taxes in the United States, where he made most of his money in 2008 and 2009, while the two countries have a deal that prevents citizens of either from suffering a double hit on taxation.
But Henares says that Pacquiao never filed any paperwork documenting his United States taxes and without that, he owes the money to his own government.
Regardless of how the case plays out, Pacquiao is not hurting for cash. Herecently struck a deal to purchase a Beverly Hills mansion for $12.5 million — almost as much as movie star Jason Statham and his girlfriend paid together for their new Beverly Hills mansion. No word, however, on whether Manny Pacquiao and Statham will be neighbors.
[Image: Jason Kempin/Getty Images]