Words and photos by Frances Leones
Out of all the things related to adulting, nothing is more confusing or stress-inducing as paying taxes. Depending on your career, the amount of tax you have to pay can vary. And let’s not forget the non-work-related taxes you pay on a daily basis such as the Value Added Tax (VAT) or Service Tax when you buy a product or use a certain service for your own leisure.
What can you do to ensure that you’re paying the right amount to the government based on the income you earn from your career? How do you prevent being hounded by the BIR during audit season? What kind of taxes are you required to pay in the first place?
All of these questions certainly require a book on the subject. But, let’s be honest, learning about taxes can be boring. For most of us who aren’t financial experts, a manual on taxes will only send us to sleep after the first couple of pages or confuse us with all of its technical terminologies.
Lucky for us, Mon Abrea of the Asian Consulting Group (ACG) has written Iwas Buwis-It: What to Do When Tax Attacks, a book that gives readers a brief overview of the kind of taxes you need to pay based on your career as well as some handy tips on how to handle them.
As the founding chairman of ACG, the first tax hub for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and founding president of the Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines, Inc. (CSR Philippines), Mon Abrea aims to help educate the Filipino people about the tax system so they can become responsible taxpayers. He also works with business owners, entrepreneurs, and even celebrities like Boy Abunda and James Reid in helping them with their businesses by giving advice on taxes and helping solve any problems related to it. With his drive and dedication to educating Filipinos both locally and abroad and detailed knowledge of the Philippine Tax System, it’s no wonder that Mon Abrea’s known as “The Philippine Tax Whiz.”
His latest book, Iwas Buwis-It, was recently launched on July 29, 2019, with celebrity guests Boy Abunda, James Reid, and Kean Cipriano in attendance. All three have worked with Mon and his company. It goes to show that even stars—the people we think who worry the least about paying taxes—need help when it comes to managing their finances.
From L to R: Potato Corner CEO Jose Magsaysay Jr., James Reid, Kean Cipriano, Salve Duplito, Mon Abrea, Boy Abunda
Mon Abrea wants tax education to be reachable, to be understood by everyone even if they don’t have professional-level knowledge about accounting or finance. His book is written in a combination of English in some sections and Taglish in others, taking on an almost conversational tone—almost as if he’s talking to you for real.
While it’s not a definitive guide on how to do your taxes (another book by Mon Abrea, Got A Question About Taxes? #AskTheTaxWhiz, might be handy for that), it does inform readers about the different taxes we all got to pay, from the cradle to maybe even beyond the grave. I, for one, was pretty shocked to learn about Donor’s Tax and Estate Tax—taxes tied to when you’re leaving an inheritance. I thought that leaving an inheritance was just a matter of stating who gets what in your final will. Turns out your children and grandchildren are going to have to pay a tax to get their share. You learn something new every day.
Aside from the casual tone, Iwas Buwis-It is packed with fun and colorful graphics and illustrations. Mon deliberately conceived the idea of his book as one that can be read casually and not as some boring manual that will stress you out with hard-to-understand technical terms. While the book gives the facts, it gives them in layman’s terms to help readers understand better how taxes work. I describe the book to be almost magazine-like in terms of design, giving you a lot of great info and tips while still being light and easy enough to read and finish in one sitting.
The new book is a great way to introduce oneself to the world of taxation and to help conquer whatever fears we have about paying them. Most of us Filipinos usually dread that simple three-letter word, tax. But for Mon, our fears are rooted in our lack of understanding. If we get educated properly about taxes, we won’t be so afraid of it anymore. That’s what Mon and his company aim to do through his book, Iwas Buwis-It.
If you’re a fresh graduate who’s already dreading having to start paying your dues to the government or already employed but still confused about this whole tax thing, the Tax Whiz’s new book is there to help.
Asian Consulting Group
Office Address: #62 Sgt. Esguerra Street corner, Mother Ignacia, Barangay South Triangle, Quezon City
Ask the Tax Whiz on Twitter at @AsktheTaxWhiz