BIR in talks with Pacquiao, reviews Dunkin' Donuts, Tan cases
MANILA, Philippines – The chief of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said his office has been in talks with the camp of Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is negotiating for a compromise agreement regarding his tax liabilities. He said he is also looking into alleged tax issues involving the Prietos of Dunkin' Donuts and taipan Lucio Tan.
BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said on the sidelines of the 2016 income tax filing deadline monitoring in Quezon City on Monday, April 17, that Pacquiao's lawyers have reached out to the BIR for a possible settlement of the boxing champ's tax deficiencies. (READ: Pacquiao wins latest tax round)
"There are a lot who have reached out to me, asking for a compromise. For example, the lawyers of Senator Pacquiao, since he has an existing tax case, they have reached out to us," Dulay said.
The BIR chief said the negotiation is still ongoing, thus there is still no estimated figure as to how much the possible compromise will be.
"If you ask me, they (Pacquiao's lawyers) said that they'll come and see me again. I hope they do it fast," Dulay said.
He added that Pacquiao's lawyers only met with him once in March this year. "I'm waiting for them to negotiate again. If Senator Pacquiao is listening, hopefully he can instruct his lawyers and manager to sit down with us."
During the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III, the BIR said Pacquiao incurred deficiencies in income tax and value-added tax from 2008 to 2009, amounting to P2.2 billion, from his fights in the United States.
The case is pending before the Court of Tax Appeals.
"I am encouraging taxpayers to avail of the compromise program of the BIR. If they settle their taxes, it will also be good for them because one of these days, they will need a tax clearance, and if they have an exisiting case, they won't be given clearance," Dulay said.
Dunkin' Donuts tax issue
Dulay said he has also ordered the BIR's legal team to review the tax issue involving Dunkin' Donuts.
"I plan to sit down with Deputy Commissioner Jesus Aranas who is on top of that case. Maybe tomorrow (Tuesday, April 18), we can look at the status of this investigation," Dulay said.
According to earlier reports, President Rodrigo Duterte had said that the company did not pay the proper taxes during the Aquino administration.
The Prietos own Golden Donuts Incorporated, the exclusive Philippine franchisee of the international brand Dunkin' Donuts, as well as the largest broadsheet, the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
"Inquirer owns Dunkin' Donuts. Did you know that? It had tax dues that were settled during the time of (former internal revenue commissioner) Kim Henares. They did not pay anything or only paid less taxes," Duterte said.
The President has separately accused the Inquirer and other media outlets of being unfair to him.
"We are still looking at the parameters of the settlement because it is not case closed," Dulay said.
Looking into Lucio Tan
When asked about Duterte's recent statements against Lucio Tan's alleged unpaid taxes, Dulay said he still has to look into this.
"Frankly I am not aware of any pending case against Mr Lucio Tan, but give me a few more days and I'll look at the records and talk to the assessment people of BIR and probably I can come out with a definite answer," he said.
Duterte said in his just-concluded state visit to Qatar that Tan has to pay almost P30 billion in taxes.
"Well, as far as I know, we have not yet developed a case against those mentioned by the President, but if there are cases, we will work on them. It is all a matter of evidence and reviewing," Dulay said. – Rappler.com