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Tax cheats, gov’t execs face 700 cases

The government has filed over 700 criminal cases against tax evaders, smugglers and erring public officials and employees under the administration’s intensified campaign against graft and corruption, according to the 2015 State of the Nation Address Technical Report.

The 88-page document was one of several reports Secretary Julia Abad of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) turned over to President Aquino on Thursday night during the PMS 45th anniversary program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

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The report said that, among other things, “under the Run after Tax Evaders or RATE program of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), 380 tax evasion cases involving tax liabilities of P68.52 billion were filed before the Department of Justice and the courts.”

“The cases include those against a former chief justice and a former member of the House of Representatives,” it said, but did not name them.

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Under the Revenue Integrity Protection Service, or RIPS program, 84 cases were filed in the Ombudsman against erring revenue personnel, while 41 cases were brought before the Civil Service Commission.

Of 383 persons investigated, 136 were charged, 15 were dismissed from the service, two had their benefits forfeited, four were fined, 16 were suspended while one was imprisoned.

Under the Run after the Smugglers, or RATS, program of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), a total of 201 smuggling cases, involving more than P26 billion in port duties and taxes, was filed in the courts.

“The cases include those against (an undisclosed number of) personalities for the smuggling of steel bars, rice, sugar and medicines, among other items,” the report said.

The administration, it noted, also focused on “reforming institutions that had long been considered breeding grounds for corrupt public servants.”

Citing the BOC, a Department of Finance (DOF)-attached agency, the report said the bureau’s “Uproot Corruption, Reboot Customs” drive “aims to jump-start a virtuous cycle of integrity and genuine public service in the bureau.

The post-entry audit functions of the BOC were also transferred to the DOF’s fiscal intelligence unit to “provide a check in the transactions of the bureau.”

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“The bureau also published on its website the import duty reports to inform the public of the correct duties and taxes they should pay, as well as the master list of regulated imports for easy reference of appraisers, examiners and import entities,” the PMS report said.

The report praised the BIR, saying that “from its highest recorded revenue in the previous administration of P778.58 billion in 2008, the agency collected P1.058 trillion in 2012, the first time in history it breached the trillion-peso mark.”

BOC collections grew by 21.1 percent year on year in 2014 as against the 5.2 percent before the customs reform program was launched in late 2013,” it said.

To eliminate distortions in the country’s tax structure, the government is pursuing the passage of the fiscal incentives rationalization act.

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TAGS: Julia Abad, PMS, RATE, tax cases, tax cheats, tax evaders, Tax evasion, Taxes
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