BIR files P36-M case vs Philrem
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday filed a criminal complaint in the Department of Justice against Philrem Service Corp. and its two top officers for alleged failure to pay taxes worth P35.61 million from 2004 to 2015.
Philrem is the company that remitted to casino operators in the country the $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh central bank in February.
The stolen funds were initially transmitted to fake accounts at the Rizal Banking Commercial Corp. branch on Jupiter Street in Makati City on Feb. 5.
Philrem, its president Salud Bautista and treasurer Michael Bautista were accused of willful attempt to evade payment of gross receipts tax (GRT), deliberate failure to file percentage tax returns (PTR) and unlawful pursuit of business for taxable years 2005 to 2014 in violation of Sections 254, 255 and 258 of the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code.
The Bautista couple appeared at Senate hearings on the funds stolen from the Bangladesh central bank account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Philrem, a domestic corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has an office at Unit 208 Cityland III, Herrera corner Esteban Streets in Legazpi Village, Makati City, according to a BIR statement issued by its public information and education division chief, Reymarie de la Cruz.
The company’s primary purpose is to engage in the business of courier services of remittances of money from abroad to be delivered to different parts of the Philippines.
In its registration with the BIR, Philrem stated its line of business as “other land transport operation not elsewhere classified.”
The company later amended its primary purpose in the SEC, which is to engage in the business of remittance of money/currency from abroad to be delivered to the different parts of the Philippines.
Despite the change in its primary purpose, Philrem allegedly did not update its registration with the BIR, De la Cruz said.
The BIR also found that Philrem was registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as a remittance agent since 2005.
As a money remittance corporation and classified by the BSP as a nonbanking financial institution (NBFI), it is subject to and should be taxed for its gross receipts, according to De la Cruz.
NBFIs, a diverse group of financial entities regulated by the BSP, is composed of private remittance companies, money transfer operators or remittance agents.
De la Cruz said Philrem filed value-added tax returns and paid the tax due thereon instead of filing PTRs and paying the 5-percent GRT.
“The gross failure to register, declare and pay the GRT showed a clear intent and purpose on its part to evade the payment of the correct amount of taxes. Further, its failure to update its registration with the BIR made it liable for unlawful pursuit of business,” De la Cruz said.
As a consequence of its supposed acts and omissions, Philrem and the Bautistas were held liable to pay GRT in the total amount of P35.61 million, inclusive of surcharges and interests, broken down into: P3.33 million in 2005, P6.61 million in 2006; P6.27 million in 2007; P5.46 million in 2008; P3.17 million in 2009; P2.59 million in 2010; P2.07 million in 2011; P1.85 million in 2012; P1.94 million in 2013; and P2.32 million in 2014.
The case against Philrem and the Bautistas were filed under the “Run After Tax Evaders” program of the BIR under its head, Commissioner Kim Henares, who appeared at the fifth hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the laundering of the $81 million in the country.
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