DOF suspends BIR special audit task forces

The Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered the suspension of the special audit task forces of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for causing uncertainty for some taxpayers.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Revenue Special Orders (RSOs) and Operations Memoranda (OMs) have resulted in duplication of functions within the bureau as well as confusion among taxpayers.

Dominguez’s order comes in the wake of the Megaworld Corp. and BIR Revenue Region 08B-South National Capital Region (NCR) row over a RSO, or audit, on the publicly-listed firm’s “sale/transfer of properties.”

“The issuance of the RSOs and OMs has distorted this and even caused uncertainty for some taxpayers,” Dominguez said in a statement on Saturday, May 21.

The RSOs and OMs allowed revenue officers to secure and conduct examination of books of accounts, papers, records, and other documents, and issue letters of authority in connection with the task force’s audit or investigation.

“The RSOs creating the special audit task forces on real estate developers and direct selling/multi-level marketing, and the operations memoranda creating task forces for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and electronic sabong (e-Sabong) were suspended immediately on Friday, May 20 until further notice,” a memorandum issued by BIR Officer-in-Charge Deputy Commissioner Marissa Cabreros read.

The DOF also reiterated in the directive to the BIR that all existing audits and investigations under the RSOs and OMs shall be handled by the revenue district offices or units in the BIR where the concerned taxpayers are registered.

“We are working with the BIR to review these issuances and ensure these do not create redundancies and cause taxpayer confusion,” Dominguez said. “If found to be in violation of our RAOs, these issuances should ultimately be revoked by the BIR.”

Relative to this order, all field audit and other field operations under the task forces authorized to conduct examinations and verifications of taxpayers’ books of account, records and other transactions were also ordered suspended.

As such, no field audit, field operations or any form of business visitation in execution of any letter of authority/audit notices, letter notices or mission orders should be conducted by the task forces.