GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 March) – With the local business scene here and in nearby areas currently “picking up,” an official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) directed their personnel in Region 12 to intensify their crackdown against possible “leakages” with the tax records of businesses in the area.
Lucita Rodriguez, BIR assistant commissioner, said their assessment showed that the region’s revenues from the value added tax (VAT) collected by local businesses should have picked up these past months
with the robust growth achieved by the area’s business sector.
“I think it’s true that there were leakages. I noticed that businesses here are booming so we should have expected higher collections from VAT and business taxes,” she said in a press conference in Koronadal
Rodriguez, who heads the BIR’s Taxpayer’s Assistance Service, visited the area last Wednesday to grace the regional kickoff of its tax campaign dubbed “I love the Philippines, I pay taxes.”
The BIR Revenue Region No. 18 (BIR-18), which covers the entire Region 12 and Maguindanao province, earlier reported that its total collections tax collections in the area last year had reached P4.4
billion, surpassing its target by 6.1 percent or P254.09 million.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The BIR regional office said 70 percent of its total collections in 2011 were generated from the withholding taxes of local employees while 21 percent came from the VAT.
Owing to their assessment, Rodriguez said there is a need for their personnel to intensify their tax investigations on the tax records of businesses in the area, especially the high-profile personalities and
She said they should conduct their tax mapping activities on a regular basis and at the same time set more information and education campaigns among local businessmen and professionals.
“We also need to reach out with them because there were instances, especially among our professionals, that they were just not aware of their obligations or the taxes that they need to pay,” Rodriguez said.
To help encourage businessmen and professionals to promptly and properly pay their tax obligations, she acknowledged that they should also expand the local implementation of its e-services, which involves electronic or online filing and payment of taxes.
Lawyer Rozil Lozares, BIR-18 regional director, assured that they were exerting “all out” efforts to stop the tax record “leakages” and related violations by local businessmen and professionals.
He said that as part of their campaign against tax evaders, the BIR-18 legal department has already filed 13 cases involving local businessmen.
Lozares said they recently sought for the issuance of alias warrants of arrest against four suspected tax evaders in the area.
“Some of the cases that we filed are undergoing litigation while some are under mediation,” he said.
The official said they have been conducting tax investigations targeting high-profile personalities in the region “to send the right signals among our residents.”
On March 1, BIR-18 officials filed a criminal case against Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao in connection with their ongoing investigation into the latter’s tax payments in 2010.
Lozares said they filed the charges against Pacquiao before the prosecutor’s office in Koronadal City for violation of Section 266 of the National Internal Revenue Code after the latter allegedly failed to submit copies of his tax records and income-related documents that were summoned by the agency.
But Michael Brenn Evangelio, chief of staff of the Sarangani congressional office, said Pacquiao is already attending to the matter and has initiated efforts to comply with the BIR’s summons. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)