Anyone who has earned more, acquired more, sold more, and inherited more should have paid the lawful and correct amounts of taxes that the government, by its sovereign right and duty, levies on any number of so-called “tax incidents” or taxable transactions on all citizens.
And anyone – not least of them lawmakers who had sworn to uphold and enforce the laws – who fails to file tax returns, with the correct amounts and within deadline, is certain to send the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on an investigation into exactly what that individual has reported, or not reported.
HE WAS one of the biggest guns in the Chicago crime scene, but for the longest time U.S. mobster Alfonse ‘Scarface’ Capone was practically untouchable by the authorities. And when he was finally sent to the slammer, the offense he was found guilty of committing had nothing to do with murder or mulcting money.
In the end, it took the U.S. Treasury Department to nail Capone, and it did so through a simple audit of his fabulous expenditures that led to the filing of tax evasion charges against him, his brother Ralph ‘Bottles’ Capone, Jake ‘Greasy Thumb’ Guzik, Frank Nitti, and other mobsters.
IT WAS 1992; Fidel V. Ramos had just been voted as president, and Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada as vice president. Presidential bet Miriam Defensor Santiago was crying foul, saying she had been cheated. She would later file an electoral protest, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was apparently more interested in something else: conducting its first ever audit of the campaign contributions and expenses of candidates for president, vice president, and senators for the then recently concluded polls.
The Comelec, then headed by Christian Monsod, seemed serious, and even formed a committee to examine the books of account of candidates, political parties, donors, and media entities. Lawyer Josefina de la Cruz, who became part of that committee, also recalls that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Commission on Audit (COA), and the National Bureau of Investigation served as Comelec’s “counterparts” in the initiative.
BIG COMPANIES expect their income tax returns to be routinely checked by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). But firms that enjoy tax and duty exemptions granted by the Board of Investments (BOI), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and other investment-promotion bodies belong to a special category that tax examiners wantonly ignore.
IT TAKES the tax bureau’s southern Makati district office, housed at the Atrium building along Makati Avenue, about a year to collect P13 billion in taxes. Just a few blocks away, another government agency, the Board of Investments (BOI), took just 14 working days to decide to grant the same amount in tax exemptions to two of the country’s most profitable companies — Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc.
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