New book examines ‘taxation morality’

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MANILA, Sept. 21, 2016 – “Tired of paying taxes? Does the perception of corruption in government justify tax avoidance?”

Amid the widespread concern for reforming the Philippine tax system and the typical dilemmas a modern taxpayer has to face, a moral theologian presents a publication, which aims to get to the bottom of tax issues.

Published by St. Pauls Philippines, “Render to Caesar? The Morality of Taxation” examines the religious and moral justification of tax: from the Old Testament to the Church Fathers and the Popes across the centuries up to contemporary times.

When is it ok to be skip taxes?

“In its pages you will discover the truth about one of the most intriguing yet age-old, social-moral questions on taxation,” said Fr. Dennis J. Yu, the book’s author.

“In general, taxpayers are willing to pay if taxes will be used for the common good, and only for the common good,” he said.

“Complaints usually have the same cause: misuse of public funds. And complaints sometimes lead to tax revolts when abuses are grave,” observed the priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, who has a background as a financial analyst.

According to the theologian, there is a need “to outline the fundamentals of our duties as citizens to contribute to state revenues and to explain special cases where we may rightfully skip paying taxes.”

A ‘must-read’

To highlight the work’s contribution, former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-Gegeral and Finance Secretary Jesus P. Estanislao affirmed: “Fr. Yu’s book brings a breath of fresh air into fiscal policy discussions.”

He added: “Politicians and economic policy-makers often focus their attention mainly on the technical aspects of fiscal policy. Focus on these aspects often makes fiscal issues more divisive and controversial than they should be, since brought into the debate—all too often—is the deep divide in policy orientation and political ideology.”

“It (the book) brings into the fiscal policy debate the moral aspect. As a work in the field of moral theology, it goes into the fundamentals of taxation,” pointed out Estanislao.

“It is a ‘must-read’ for students of fiscal policy and taxation law. It provides a useful overview of the ‘theology of taxation’, added the former Cabinet member.

Turn to St. Matthew

As an aside, the author advised: “Turn to St. Matthew.”

“He was one of Jesus’ apostles and also one of the four Evangelists. Prior to being called to be an apostle, he worked as a tax collector. He is the patron saint of tax collectors and accountants, and his feast is celebrated on Sept. 21,” the priest explained. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)

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