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BIR files tax evasion raps vs lawyer of Andal Jr.

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MANILA, Philippines—The government has filed tax evasion charges against the lawyer of Andal Ampatuan Jr. for failing to declare his P20-million income last year which he used to purchase eight properties in Davao City from his client, the prime suspect in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares on Thursday announced the tax evasion complaint she filed at the Department of Justice against Arnel Cortez Manaloto, whom she identified as the lawyer of Ampatuan.

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Manoloto was charged of willful failure to supply correct and accurate information of his Income Tax Return (ITR), deliberate failure to file his Value Added Tax (VAT) returns and failure to register for VAT for taxable year 2011, which were in violation of Section 255 and Section 275 in relation to Section 236 (G) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

The BIR also charged Manoloto’s certified public accountant Erwin Sicangco Carreon “for certifying (his client’s) financial statements containing essential misstatement of facts,” Henares read from a statement.

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In a news conference, Henares was asked whether her office’s action to file a case against Manoloto stemmed from a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism report last week on the alleged sale of eight properties of Ampatuan to Manaloto in May 2011, two weeks before the Court of Appeals issued a freeze order on all the assets of Ampatuan and other relatives accused of involvement in the massacre.

She said the BIR got its information on the properties from apparently the same informant of the PCIJ report.

“So it’s just timing. When the PCIJ (report) came out, we were also ready [with] all our [evidence] so we filed a case,” she told reporters.

Asked whether the BIR will file a case against the Ampatuans, Henares said: “We don’t have any conclusion as to how the Ampatuans purchased the property. Our case is just against the lawyer.

Henares said her office was not yet ready to file a case against the Ampatuans because there were ongoing investigations being done by the DOJ and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

She said they would just coordinate with each other in the evidence they gathered.

“We’d rather use the same evidence,” Henares added.

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Explaining the case against Manoloto, she said the lawyer should have earned P30 million because aside from the P20 million he needed to buy the eight properties from the upscale Juna subdivision, he also needed P10 million to pay for taxes.

Henares said a BIR probe showed Manoloto “deliberately pegged his income for 2011 at P1.495 million” when he had actually earned a lot more.

In his 2011 financial statement, Manoloto labeled the P17.50-million income he earned as deferred income “so as not to pay taxes due thereon.”

He also failed, she said, to include in the same financial statement “income he earned amounting to at least P20 million, which he used to purchase eight properties in Davao City from Andal Ampatuan Jr.”

The BIR determined that Manoloto’s unreported income last year was P37.97 million by using the expenditures method of investigation.

By declaring only a P1.495 million income last year, the lawyer has under-declared his income by 2,439.28 percent.

On top of that, despite his P37.97-million income last year, Manoloto failed to register as VAT taxpayer and also failed to file his VAT returns and pay the corresponding taxes due.

“For his acts and omissions in violation of the Tax Code, Manoloto was sued for a total tax liability for taxable year 2011 amounting to P27.56 million, inclusive of surcharges and interests, broken down as follows: Income Tax, P19.88 million; and VAT, P7.68 million,” Henares said.

According to the PCIJ report, it was able to trace documents showing that the land titles of the eight properties were now in the name of Manoloto. Before that, they were registered in the name of Ampatuan and his wife Reshal.

Seven of the properties are in Juna Subdivision, where the mansion of Ampatuan’s father and namesake Andal Sr. is located. Except for a property in Matina Crossing that measures 783 square meters, the rest of the properties range from 555 to 600 sqm.

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TAGS: Andal Ampatuan, government and politics, law and justice, Tax
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