DOF seeks quicker action on tax evasion, smuggling cases

By: Ronnel W. Domingo, January 6th, 2013 07:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Finance is pushing for quicker action on cases against alleged tax evaders, smugglers and erring government employees as the department vowed to go for a more aggressive anticorruption campaign.

In a statement, Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said the bureau’s Run Against Tax Evaders (RATE) would now focus on self-employed professionals, specifically those who were not filing the proper tax returns.

DOF data showed that 302 cases were filed against alleged tax cheats and corrupt state workers and officials since the Aquino administration took office in mid-2010.

These cases represent about P80 billion in taxes, duties and penalties that the government wants to collect.

Under the RATE campaign alone, 140 cases accounting for P44.3 billion in unpaid taxes and surcharges have been lodged during the two and a half years of the Aquino administration.

That is more than the 127 RATE cases—covering P7 billion in tax liabilities—that were filed since the RATE campaign was launched in 2005 until mid-2010 when President Arroyo’s term ended.

“This stark improvement during the Aquino administration is due to the BIR’s aggressive filing of tax cases every other Thursday,” Henares said. “We will continue to investigate and hammer down on tax evaders.”

Also, in the past two and a half years, the Bureau of Customs filed 107 cases under its Run After the Smugglers (RATS) campaign while the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) lodged 55 complaints against 59 government employees.

The RATS cases represent P25.9 billion in duties and taxes, covering P52.4 billion worth of import shipments.

The DoF said RIPS had so far secured 62 suspensions and 21 dismissals against erring state employees.

“We are working closely with the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman and the judiciary to expedite the just prosecution, trial and resolution of these significant cases,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said.

Of the 140 RATE cases, 121 are pending in the DoJ, 17 are pending in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) and regular courts. The DoJ has dismissed with finality two of these cases.

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