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MANILA, Philippines – For the years 2002 to 2010, Chief Justice Renato Corona did not file income tax returns with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Kim Henares disclosed this information when she was presented as witness by private prosecutor Arthur Lim.
Without a tax return the only records that could indicate income earned as well taxes paid by Chief Justice Corona for the period 2002 to 2010 would have been the “alpha list” submitted to them annually by the Supreme Court.
Henares said, however, that the High Court did not to submit its “alpha lists” from 2002 to 2005. Alpha lists of the justices, however, were submitted from 2006 to 2010.
Single income source?
Taxpayers are required by law to regularly file income tax returns every year. Section 51 of the tax code, however, exempts individuals deriving income from only one source from having to file income tax returns.
Taxes on salaries by such individuals are withheld at source by their employers, who then submit to the BIR “alpha lists” containing income earned by their employees and taxes withheld. (Read: What is an Alpha List?)
The same law, however, requires individuals deriving income from more than one employer at any time during the taxable year to file an income tax return.
If a salaried employee does not file an income tax return, he claims, in effect, that he has only one source of income.
Corona’s wife, Cristina also did not file any income tax returns for the years 1992 to 2002, according to Henares. She was also not registered as tax payer for the period.
Henares said that Cristina registered as one-time tax payer in September 2003, in relation to a property transaction, the Corona couple’s purchase of a property in La Vista, Quezon City. The La Vista lot, measuring 1,200 sq. meters, was purchased by the couple in 2003 according to Corona’s SALNs. The assessed value of the property according to the SALNs is P450,000. The fair market value indicated was P3 million.
La Vista is just one of at least 5 properties Corona and his wife acquired after getting appointed justice of the Supreme Court in 2002.
Can he afford those properties?
The prosecution presented BIR’s Henares in relation to Article 2 of the impeachment charges against Corona, which charged him of failing to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
The prosecution has argued that honesty and accuracy in the filing of the asset disclosures fall under the scope of Article 2. Earlier, the prosecution panel presented property documents relating to real estate assets owned by the Corona couple, and questioned the couple’s capacity to purchase said assets, given their known income.
Corona’s defense team argued, however, that ill-gotten wealth charges do not fall under the scope of Article 2.
The Impeachment Court has already ruled to allow evidence on graft and corruption to be presented but disallowed presentation of evidence regarding allegations of ill-gotten wealth. – Rappler.com