Prosecution probes Coronas’ ITRs
MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona filed his income tax return (ITR) through an “alphalist” while wife, Cristina, was a “one-time taxpayer”, according to Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares in her testimony before the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, at the resumption of Corona’s trial Wednesday.
Henares’ testimony came after the Senate ruled that the prosecution could present evidence concerning the multimillion-peso properties he had acquired during his stint as a court official but not on allegations that he had amassed ill-gotten wealth as contained in separate paragraphs in Article 2 of the Eight Articles of Impeachment that have been levelled against the Chief Justice.
At the start of her testimony, Henares testified that although Corona did not have a record of having file income tax returns (ITR) before the BIR from 2002 to 2010 through the usual process, he did so via the alphalist, which contains the names of employees, Corona included, income and amount withheld and filed before the BIR.
“He [Corona] did not file any income tax returns for tax year 2002 to 2010,” Henares said, responding to a question from private prosecutor Arthur Lim, who was conducting a direct examination of the witness.
But Henares said that through the alphalist, the Chief Justice declared the following: A gross income of P657, 755.57 and P176,577.32 tax paid in 2010; income of P621, 528.62 and withholding tax of P155,556.20 in 2009; gross income of P604,388.46 and P154,057.75 in 2008; gross income of P488, 156.57 and withholding tax of P117, 399.31 in 2007; and a total income of P465, 156.57 and withholding tax of P109,706 in 2006.
The BIR has no tax records of the Chief Justice from 2002 to 2005 even in the alphalist that was submitted annually by the Supreme Court, said Henares.
Senator Ralph Recto, who sits as one of the judge in the trial, clarified that the non-filing of the ITR by Corona did not mean that he did not pay his taxes.
“Hindi nangangahulugan na hindi s’ya [Corona] nagbayad dahil trabaho ng Supreme Court ang kumaltas at magremit sa BIR [This doesn’t mean that he didn’t pay because it is the work of the Supreme Court to deduct and remit to the BIR]. Tama ho ba iyon [Is that right]?” Recto asked.
“Tama ho iyon [That is correct],” said the BIR chief.
“To be fair, Mr. President, hindi nangangahulugan na kailangan siyang magkaroon ng income tax return kung wala naman siyang [this doesn’t mean that he should have an income tax return because he doesn’t have an] income tax return,” Recto said.
Henares agreed with the senator, saying it was provided for under Section 51 of the National Revenue Code of 1997.
In the case of Corona’s wife, Cristina, Henares said that she was a “one-time taxpayer” having registered with the BIR on September 9, 2003 or just seven days before she bought a property at the posh La Vista subdivision in Quezon City.
Mrs. Corona bought the P11-million worth of property even when she had not declared income prior to September 9, 2003.
“She did not file any income tax return and she was registered only as taxpayer on September 9, 2003 so any year before that she’s not a taxpayer,” said Henares.
Lim then asked the BIR chief if Mrs Corona had any income when she bought the property.
“She was not registered as tax payer and therefore, for all legal purposes as far as the BIR is concerned, she has never earned any income prior to 2003,” Henares said.
Henares, responding to Senate Juan Ponce-Enrile’s queries, admitted that she only found out about this information last Friday, January 20, 2012.
She said the BIR would immediately investigate the matter.
But while she filed no income tax returns before 2003, Mrs.Corona declared in the alphalist submitted by her former employer, the Camp John Hay Management Corporation, the following: Total taxable compensation of P623,000 and withholding taxof P154, for 2007; gross income of P1 ,024, 303 and withholding tax of P279, 656 in 2008; gross income of P1,106, 201 and tax due of P302, 984 in 2009; and taxable income of P469,986 and tax payment of P100, 995 in 2010.
In addition, Henares said, they have “expanded” withholding taxes for director’s fees given to Mrs. Corona from 2006 to 2010.
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