BIR now going after accountants

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02:47 PM October 13th, 2011

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By: Marlon Ramos, October 13th, 2011 02:47 PM

After filing tax cases against doctors and lawyers, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has now trained its sights on accountants.

Emelino Maestro, a certified public accountant, was charged by the BIR on Thursday with tax evasion for  alleged failure to  pay close to P7 million in income and value-added taxes four years ago.

The BIR filed the case at the Department of Justice, which will determine if there is enough evidence to prosecute the matter in court. It has previously filed tax lawsuits against lawyers and doctors.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Estela Sales said the tax bureau would now be training its sights on accountants and other “tax practitioners” who had been remiss in paying correct taxes.

“This is a fair warning to all accountants. You should walk the talk and practice what you preach,” Sales said at a news briefing.

Sales said Maestro, owner of ETM Tax Agent Offices, was the first “tax practitioner” sued by the BIR for  direct violation of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

“In the past, we only charged accountants for colluding with their clients. This is the first time that we filed a case against an accountant for willful attempt to evade or defeat tax,” Sales said.

Tentative ITR

As a “tax practitioner,” Maestro, of Sampaloc, Manila, has been conducting lectures and doing tax consultancy for taxpayers, including private companies, she said.

Sales said the bureau had already stripped the tax agent of his accreditation to represent taxpayers in the BIR.

Tax investigators found that Maestro failed in his promise to amend his income tax return (ITR) for 2007, which he submitted on April 14, 2008, Sales said.

Instead of filing an ITR, she said Maestro submitted a “tentative” ITR, which did not contain his sources of income.

She said the document only contained the note: “This is a tentative return. Final and adjusted return including tax-based financial statements shall be filed as soon as they became available.”

Since then, Sales said Maestro had failed to provide the necessary documents and comply with the BIR rules.

Sales said Maestro owed the government P5.7 million in income tax and P1.61 million in value-added tax (VAT), including surcharges and interests.

“He willfully evaded the payment of the said deficiency taxes through the fraudulent scheme of filing a tentative annual income tax return… with no entries thereon,” Sales said.

She said the accountant’s failure to submit an ITR “resulted in the nondeclaration of revenues and thus, nonpayment of taxes.”

The BIR also added a rice trader to its growing list of alleged delinquent taxpayers.

It sued Gerardo Teves, proprietor of GT Trading, for supposedly failing  to pay over P136 million in income and value-added taxes in 2009.

Originally posted at 02:47 pm | Thursday, October 13, 2011

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