TMZ scores TKO of Pacquiao

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SACRAMENTO, California -- Disdained for celebrity journalism and gingerly credited for being on the ball, TMZ scored another scoop recently, this time about the reported tax troubles of world-renowned Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.


While the major news outlets felt uneasy to act, TMZ—a website that hovers between gossip and news—dug up something on the Filipino fighter, coming up with an official notice from the Internal Revenue Service known as Form 668Y, a Notice of Federal Tax Lien.

Prepared and signed a month ago on Nov. 22 at the IRS office in Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, the document was filed at the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office in Norwalk, another satellite city of LA.

The form shows that Pacquiao failed to pay taxes totaling $18.3 million (about P792 million) in the United States from 2006 to 2010. The fighter denies he owes Uncle Sam taxes. His promoter, Bob Arum, says the money were withheld from Pacquiao’s earnings. Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere.

In any case, the IRS said “it is giving notice that taxes (including interest and penalties) have been assessed against”  Emmanuel D. Pacquiao.

“We have made a demand for payment of this liability but it remains unpaid,” said the IRS. “Therefore, there is a lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes, and additional penalties, interest and cost that may accrue.”

With the document obtained by the TMZ becoming viral online, Pacquiao’s corner continues to negotiate with Philippine tax authorities who maintain he owes taxes for the years he reportedly did not pay in the US.

A treaty between the US and PH prevents double taxation; but for not showing proof he has paid US taxes, Pacquiao’s bank assets were frozen by the chief PH tax sheriff while the boxer settles his tax obligations.


As a celebrity who resides in LA while he fights in America, Pacquiao is fair game for TMZ, so named after the “Thirty Mile Zone,” an area with a 50-kilometer radius covering Hollywood and environs. The zone was part of an old studio bylaw that dictated salary rates for union workers in the movie industry.

A celebrity news and Hollywood rumor website with a companion television series, TMZ was started in 2005 by two divisions of Warner Brothers. It is one of the most heavily visited websites on the planet.

It was created and is still managed by lawyer-turned-television reporter Harvey Levin. While I was a state information officer in LA in the 1980s, Harvey was a reporter for KNXT, the local CBS television affiliate.

Described by an online news magazine as a “logical next step over a line that was crossed by paparazzi a long time ago,” TMZ allegedly pays for story sources and videos on a daily basis, supplied by big paparazzi agencies like X17 and Splash.

But despite the derision from the mainstream media, TMZ has broken its share of stories.

It was first to report about Michael Jackson’s death in 2009; the first to file a story about the 45-day jail sentence of hotel heir and part-time actress Paris Hilton in 2007.


In 2006, TMZ broke the news about actor Mel Gibson’s arrest for drunk driving and his alleged anti-Semitic rant that ignited a prolonged controversy later.

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