'Our function is to collect the correct taxes' –BIR chief

April 9, 2011 2:01 am 

MANILA, April 8 — Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares stressed on Friday that her agency's function is to collect the correct taxes.

"We are not a political institution and we have no political agenda," Henares said as she explained the tax evasion cases the BIR has filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against some "big and famous personalities."

She told media members during the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)-sponsored Communications and News Exchange Forum at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Building in Quezon City that they filed tax evasion cases against former presidential son and now party-list Rep. Jose Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, his wife Angela, and Brazilian model-actress Daiana Menezes on Thursday.

She said they have a strong case against the Arroyo couple and the other 38 individuals already charged in court.

Told of Arroyo's denial and claim that the tax evasion case "is political harassment," Henares said it is their standard procedure to file a case against "whoever evades paying his or her tax."

She added that it is up to the court now to litigate the cases.

The BIR commissioner also informed the forum participants that they started filing cases last July 15, 2010, and do so once in two weeks after thorough investigations.

Explaining that tax evasion is a criminal case, she said: "We do not give compromise in the criminal aspect of the case. Whatever happens in court, whether it decides to pardon the defendant, he must pay his tax."

According to her, it is the policy of the agency not to announce the names of suspected tax evaders while investigation is going on. "We do not want trial by publicity."

Henares' interaction with private and government media also served as a venue to increase awareness on the BIR's revenue collection efforts in time for the April 15 deadline for the filing of the annual income tax returns.

She announced that the agency is just 1.76 percent short of its first quarter collection target and is optimistic to attain the P914-billion target for the entire year. (PNA)

scs/ogi

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