MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Tax Appeals has ordered the arrest of a Forever Living product distributor in a landmark case that could see the Philippines’ first ever convicted tax evader in jail.
The court issued a writ of execution for the arrest of Gloria V. Kintanar, who was found guilty of evading P15 million in back taxes.
The court also directed the sheriff to report within 30 days from July 12 on the progress of Kintanar’s arrest.
Kintanar has been at large since June 26, when she was supposed to have started her 4-year jail sentence. She failed to appear in court that day, citing medical reasons.
She is one of the top independent distributors of Forever Living Products Philippines Inc, the local unit of the multinational firm engaged in multi-level marketing. Her success story of earning millions from a home-based business has been used in recruitment efforts.
In 2005, the Bureau of Internal Revenue slapped her with tax evasion charges for failing to file income tax returns (ITRs) for the years 2000 and 2001 despite earning commissions from Forever Living since 1999.
Kintanar had argued she did not willfully evade taxes and blamed her accountants for failing to accomplish her ITRs.
The tax appeals court, in a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court, ruled that proving Kintanar’s intent to evade taxes was no longer necessary. It stressed the accused was aware of her tax obligations but “nevertheless, voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally failed to file the required returns.”
Kintanar would be the first person to be imprisoned for tax evasion in Philippine history.
President Aquino earlier lauded her conviction, and was quoted in reports as saying that “finally, somebody is going to go to jail for a white-collar crime.” – Rappler.com
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