Philippine finance chief hails BIR’s ‘extraordinary’ 2017

Rappler.com
Philippine finance chief hails BIR’s ‘extraordinary’ 2017
In 2017, the Bureau of Internal Revenue booked the country's biggest-ever tax settlement case: Mighty Corporation's about P30 billion liabilities

MANILA, Philippines – It was an “extraordinary” 2017 for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), said the country’s finance minister, after the bureau waged a successful war against big-time tax dodgers.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said BIR closed 2017 on a good note after it booked the country’s biggest-ever tax settlement: Mighty Corporation’s about P30 billion liabilities.

“The year 2017 is an extraordinary one for the BIR, owing largely to this achievement,” Dominguez said in his speech Friday, December 29, which was read for him by Finance Assistant Secretary Mark Dennis Joven.

“The crackdown on Mighty will have to be credited to the vigilant and unyielding effort of our revenue agencies. I look forward to other accomplishments like this one in the coming months,” he added.

Embattled Mighty offered to settle its tax liabilities for P25 billion and close shop after the bureau filed several complaints for its use of counterfeit tax stamps before the Department of Justice. (READ: The Philippines’ biggest business deals in 2017)

The Bulacan-based cigarette maker was then bought out by global giant Japan Tobacco (JT) for about $1 billion to partly help the local cigarette firm settle its P30-billion tax evasion case.

The government had accused Mighty – the Philippines’ number two cigarette manufacturer – of using fake tax stamps to get out of paying excise taxes.

Since JT took over Mighty’s operations, its excise tax payments from its cigarette brands registered an increase of over 200% in the September to October period alone.

More convenient process

Dominguez then directed BIR to make the process of paying taxes more convenient, after he congratulated the agency for implementing reforms that have improved its revenue collections by almost 12% in 2017.

The finance secretary said he expects the BIR to continue its campaign against big-time tax dodgers “with hammer and tongs.”

“Beyond helping improve revenue collections, the case of Mighty Corp. sends a clear and resounding message to other corporate entities that fudge the numbers and befuddle the books,” he said in his speech.

Dominguez also congratulated BIR for generating an “impressive” collection rate of 11.84% in the first 3 quarters of 2017, and a goal attainment rate of 96.96%.

“Let me congratulate [BIR] Commissioner Caesar Dulay, the deputy commissioners and the officers of the BIR for the good work you have put in. I urge you to sustain the effort at completely modernizing tax administration in the country,” Dominguez said.

“Paying taxes is painful enough for many of us. Let us minimize inconveniences in the process,” he added.

Dominguez had directed directed the BIR and Bureau of Customs to strengthen their cooperation at the regional level against anti-smuggling activities, as most illicitly-traded goods entering the country are being sold outside Metro Manila. – Rappler.com

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