House bill defining tax racketeering passes final reading
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on its third and final reading a bill defining and prescribing penalties for tax racketeering,
The bill, authored by Representatives Joey Salceda and Emigdio Tanjuatco III, defines tax racketeering as a crime committed by “any person who engages in any coordinated scheme or operation to evade or defeat any tax imposed under this Code through the fraudulent use of receipts, returns, and other records, with a minimum amount of P10 million in taxes evaded.”
According to House Speaker Martin Romualdez, the bill will deter schemes that aim to defraud the government of billions of pesos in taxes.
“These schemes are cleverly used by syndicates and bogus businesses. They may not be covered by the definition of tax evasion, which the tax law penalizes. We have to plug loopholes in the law to arrest the hemorrhage of tax revenue that should accrue to government coffers, instead of going to the pockets of a few criminally-minded individuals,” he said.
The bill proposes that tax racketeers suffer an imprisonment period of 17 to 20 years if convicted. Should the perpetrator be a company or organization, then the penalty will be imposed on ont those whose participation allowed the tax racketeering.
“Persons who, having knowledge of tax racketeering, take part subsequent to its commission, including profiting from it, shall suffer imprisonment of six years to 10 years,” Romualdez said.
A fine of P5 million to P10 million and imprisonment of six to 10 years can also be given to those who willfully evade the law by using fake receipts and invoices, among other things.