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Gov’t planning massive tax amnesty

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 12:16 AM August 26, 2016

The Duterte administration will push to legislate a one-time, big-time amnesty program for delinquent taxpayers.

In the meantime, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will already resume taxpayer audits earlier suspended by Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay in his first day of office.

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Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed plans for a massive tax amnesty program that the Duterte administration wanted to push as part of its tax reform agenda. If passed into law, there would be no further amnesties in the next 25 years.

The Duterte administration was eyeing to impose a minimum amnesty payment equivalent to 40 percent of the basic deficiency.

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The program is expected to facilitate “absolute” reprieve for delinquent taxpayers, such that this would clear all tax dockets at the BIR, the Bureau of Customs, as well as in courts.

The government said the program would be excluding those whose liabilities are part of criminal cases.

As for cases lodged before the Court of Appeals, the government would seek to enter into a compromise with those who already have tax assessments. Those without assessments, meanwhile, were expected to pay a 5-percent tax on net worth.

The government also wanted to charge a higher amount for delayed amnesty payments. The delinquent taxpayer would only be charged interests on the third month, while his or her surcharges would be paid on the fifth month.

Business groups pitched for a tax amnesty program when they met with Dulay last month.

Dulay also ordered through Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 89-2016, issued on Aug. 23, the lifting of the suspension of BIR audits for cases under the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program.

“To continue the mandate of the BIR to investigate criminal violations of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, and to prosecute such cases to deter, to the greatest possible degree, tax evasion practices, and to encourage voluntary compliance with the internal revenue tax laws, the suspension of the implementation of letters of authority pertaining to the RATE is hereby lifted,” Dulay said. RATE brings alleged tax evaders to court.

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“Therefore, field audits, field operations, any form of business visitations and all activities connected directly in the implementation of letters of authority pertaining to RATE cases shall be resumed/continued or conducted in accordance with the existing rules and regulations of the BIR,” he added.

A letter of authority is an official document that empowers revenue officers to examine and scrutinize taxpayers’ books in order to determine their correct tax liabilities.

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