2 CDO lawmakers question BIR’s new tax scheme

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/11 March) — Two congressmen have filed a resolution asking the Bureau of Internal Revenue to explain its new tax scheme requiring those earning at least P500,000 a year to file an Annual Information Return (AIR) by April 15 this year.

In a resolution filed in the House of Representatives, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez and Maximo B. Rodriguez of Abante Mindanao party-list said  BIR’s order contained in Revenue Resolution 2-2011 could be illegal.

The order was dated March 1 and signed by Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima.

The order requires persons earning at least P38,461 monthly including the mandatory 13th month pay to file an AIR, which is similar to the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) required of public officials.

Rufus Rodriguez, a former law school dean said that the BIR may have acted outside its mandate as the new tax scheme “effects limitation of citizens’ rights.”

“Under our laws, only Congress has the power to enact laws that effect the limitation of existing rights of citizens,” he said.

The new BIR order, he said, may have violated at least two laws, namely the Bank Secrecy Law and the right of private individuals to privacy.

What applies to public officials who are bestowed with power as a public trust does not necessarily apply to private citizens, the congressman argued.

Revenue Regulation 2-2011 also requires those earning P500,000 a year to file on April 15, 2011 estates and trusts, passive income, including interest income, royalties, dividends and earnings from all kinds of prizes and winnings.

The BIR justified the order as part of its campaign to increase revenue collection amidst reports of massive tax evasion.

Rodriguez said they would call for legislative inquiry BIR officials like Kim Henares to shed light on the matter, adding he hopes that the order would not be implemented until all issues are settled. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)