Angara measure would grant taxpayers a bill of rights
SEN. JUAN Edgardo Angara is pushing for the creation of an Office of the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent body tasked with promoting and protecting the rights of Filipino taxpayers.
In a statement yesterday, Angara, who chairs the Senate ways and means committee, said a “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” is needed—especially as the Duterte administration plans to embark on a comprehensive tax reform—aimed at making the tax system simpler, fairer and more efficient.
In Senate Bill No. 308, Angara said a taxpayer had three categories of rights: Basic rights, rights in civil cases and rights in criminal cases.
SB 308 states that the basic rights include the right “to available information and prompt and accurate responses to questions and requests for tax assistance.”
Other rights include the speedy and impartial disposition of a case wherever it may be filed and in a manner devoid of any publicity while the proceeding is pending, Angara said.
The bill provides that “the taxpayer’s tax information must be kept confidential unless otherwise specified by law.”
Angara is also pushing for “the right to fair and consistent appli cation of the tax laws, the right to have assistance of counsel, the right to expeditious tax audits, and the right to request for installment payment of liabilities under any compromise settlement.”
SB 308 “also confers upon the taxpayer the right to be refunded for excess payments or have penalties cancelled when there are errors in assessment,” Angara said, adding that “in civil cases, among the rights of the taxpayer is the opportunity to have the case amicably settled if warranted.”
The Angara bill would guarantee that taxpayers are informed of “impending collection actions which require sale or seizure of property or freezing of assets, except jeopardy assessments.”
“Taxpayer rights in criminal tax cases begin with the right to be knowledgeably, intelligently and timely informed of the charges… This includes the right to be served all the necessary documents on time,” the senator said.
“I have also included a provision mandating that in all dealings, the taxpayer has the right to be treated in a professional manner by any revenue personnel. All encounters between the taxman and the taxpayer must be pleasant,” said Angara.
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