BIR wants to skirt DOJ stage in tax evasion cases

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated November 05, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) wants to have the power to file tax evasion cases against individuals and companies without going through the Department of Justice (DOJ), a ranking official said.

This is among the reforms the BIR wants to pursue in the long run even as officials conceded it would take time for such a major initiative to be implemented.

In an interview, BIR assistant commissioner James Roldan said such reform would boost the fight against tax evasion.

But Roldan conceded it would take time and may face a lot of opposition.

“We would have to push for the amendment of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC),” Roldan said.

At present, the NIRC mandates the BIR to file a complaint first before the Department of Justice which would assess if there are grounds for the filing of a tax evasion case.

Roldan said this takes time.

More than the lengthy procedure, he said, there are times when the BIR complaints are dismissed by the Justice department due to a difference in assessment between BIR and DOJ lawyers.

Under its Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program, the BIR has been filing before the Justice department tax evasion cases against erring individuals and companies.

It hopes to collect P50.773 billion in unpaid taxes from 133 cases it has so far filed before the DOJ since the beginning of the Aquino administration in 2010.

Since 2005, a total of 258 cases have been filed under the program.

Data from the BIR showed that of the total number of cases, at least 26 have been resolved by the Department of Justice and 14 have been filed in court.

Some 52 cases have been submitted for resolution while others are still for assignment or are still in the preliminary investigation stage.

Among the high-profile cases is the tax evasion case against former chief justice Renato Corona, his daughter and his son-in-law.

The BIR said it would continue to file tax evasion cases at the Justice department once every two weeks to send a message to delinquent taxpayers that the agency is serious in boosting collections.

Accounting for 70 percent of government revenues, the BIR hopes to collect P1.066 trillion this year.

Revenue Regulations (RRs)
are issuances signed by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, that specify, prescribe or define rules and regulations for the effective enforcement of the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and related statutes

Revenue Memorandum Orders (RMOs) are issuances that provide directives or instructions; prescribe guidelines; and outline processes, operations, activities, workflows, methods and procedures necessary in the implementation of stated policies, goals, objectives, plans and programs of the Bureau in all areas of operations, except auditing.

Revenue Memorandum Rulings (RMRs) are rulings, opinions and interpretations of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue with respect to the provisions of the Tax Code and other tax laws, as applied to a specific set of facts, with or without established precedents, and which the Commissioner may issue from time to time for the purpose of providing taxpayers guidance on the tax consequences in specific situations. BIR Rulings, therefore, cannot contravene duly issued RMRs; otherwise, the Rulings are null and void ab initio

Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMCs) are issuances that publish pertinent and applicable portions, as well as amplifications, of laws, rules, regulations and precedents issued by the BIR and other agencies/offices.

Revenue Bulletins (RB) refer to periodic issuances, notices and official announcements of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that consolidate the Bureau of Internal Revenue's position on certain specific issues of law or administration in relation to the provisions of the Tax Code, relevant tax laws and other issuances for the guidance of the public.

BIR Rulings are official position of the Bureau to queries raised by taxpayers and other stakeholders relative to clarification and interpretation of tax laws.
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