The Bureau of Internal Revenue has filed 74 cases of tax evasion, amounting to P3.58 billion, against individuals and companies all over the nation that have been found to have violations, as the tax season approaches.
BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. did not name the respondents, only saying they included oil companies and cigarette manufacturers, but said the cases should remind taxpayer to file their returns promptly and pay the correct dues.
53 of the cases have been filed with the Department of Justice, amounting to P3.56 billion, while 21 others were filed in local prosecution offices in the country amounting to P15.9 million. It was not mentioned whether cases for collection that already had Supreme Court rulings were included in this particular BIR crackdown.
“We’re doing this because we want to convey to the public, especially that the filing season is fast approaching, to ensure that if we file our tax returns, we pay the correct tax or risk facing complaints,” Lumagui Jr. told reporters.
The violations include willful failure to pay taxes, willful attempt to evade or defeat the payment of taxes due, and willful failure to pay/remit its income tax liabilities. Respondents include those who filed their tax returns without corresponding payment.
“We also want to assure the public that the BIR is committed to ensure that everyone is paying their fair of taxes,” he added.
The BIR noted that complaints were filed through its Run After Tax Evader Program which “require revenue officials and employees to investigate criminal violations and assist in the prosecution of criminal cases.”
“Enforcement of tax laws is needed to enhance the voluntary compliance of taxpayers,” it added.
Many Filipino taxpayers will have their eye on the BIR as the tax filing season approaches, especially after high profile cases of tax evasion worth billions of pesos were among the biggest issues during last year’s elections. Is the BIR going to go after all tax evaders in this country or will only the regular and powerless folk be forced to pay taxes or suffer the dire consequences of refusing to partake in this patriotic obligation?*