BIR keeps an eye on Davao City’s Chinatown

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 July) — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) here is now keeping an eye on at least 200 business establishments at the Chinatown in downtown Ramon Magsaysay Avenue (formerly Uyanguren) to ensure everyone pays the correct taxes.

Revenue officer Noel Gonzales told reporters on Friday that they will conduct further surveillance in Chinatown to determine which among the business establishments are violating tax laws in the country.

Assorted footwear on display in business establishments in Chinatown along Ramon Magsaysay Avenue in Davao City. Chinatown  is a known source of pirated DVD movies and imitation products such as jewelry, clothes, cellphones, laptops and some appliances. Most of the goods are imported from China. Ruby Thursday More / AKP ImagesChinatown here is known for selling pirated DVDs and imitation products such as mobile phones, laptops, jewelry, clothes and hardware items. Most of these items are imported from China and majority of the owners do not speak English.

The BIR, said Gonzales, presumes that some of the business establishments in Chinatown are under-declaring their incomes to avoid paying higher revenues.

“This is only our presumption since we received reports that some of these business establishments are not issuing official receipts,” he said.

Those subject for surveillance are business establishments that have under-declared their incomes by 30 per cent, he said.

Revenue officers will be deployed in the area to conduct tax mapping to check if these establishments are complying with tax laws, Gonzales said.

Tax mapping includes inspection of cash registry machines, proper bookkeeping, issuance of receipts and business registration papers posted in the business establishments.

From January to June this year, he disclosed that at least 700 business establishments have been tax mapped and 200 of these are in Chinatown.

“Some of them may have not declared their exact total income even if they are wholesale dealers. Like some of them only declared an annual income of P1.5 million but they are wholesale establishments,” Gonzales said.

Some of these wholesale dealers may not be issuing receipts to the retailers, he said.

For first time violators, he said, the BIR will impose a “soft approach,” which means educate them. But for recurring violators, the BIR will impose the “hard approach,” which is the closure of the business establishment under the Oplan Kandado campaign.

The campaign involves looking into the business establishment’s failure to issue receipts or invoices; failure to file VAT returns; and understatement of taxable sales or receipt by 30 percent or more of the correct taxable sales and receipt for the taxable quarter and failure to register their businesses.

Regional district officer Abilia Bentulan said they have already prepared information and education kits in English and Chinese for the Chinese traders in the city regarding the tax laws.

Bentulan added that the BIR is not making the process difficult for the traders to apply for business permits and other requirements.

However, there are businessmen who are really reluctant in complying with the requirements.

“Sometimes we really have to be harsh towards them so that they would feel that the government is really serious in our campaign against tax law violators,” she stressed.

Both BIR officers urged the public to ask for official receipts from the business establishments. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)