BIR field officials seek resumption of probe on taxation anomalies

Key field officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) are asking their top officials to resume audit operations to boost the chances of hitting the P2.4 trillion collection target for the year.

The investigation was suspended in May by then Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III as an offshoot of the BIR's aborted  plan to padlock a branch of a business conglomerate in Taguig City for alleged tax offenses.

Some revenue district officers (RDOs) expressed doubt of reaching the collection assignment without investigation, noting that the take for the first quarter of the year was already short by more than P47 billion of the goal.

They explained that the bureau raises only three percent of its annual take from audit, but insisted it plays a critical role in enhancing  voluntary compliance which account for 97 percent of the total collection.

They said taxpayers are emboldened to cheat if the bureau will not review and impose sanctions for non-compliance.

Insiders said audit is like a whip used by parents in disciplining their wayward children.

"Sad to say Filipino taxpayers have not yet attend patriotic and nationalistic maturity to declare correct earnings and pay the corresponding taxes," one RDO said.

They cited, for instance, the practice of many store owners of remitting only one percent of their gross earnings, instead of the 12 percent value -added tax by declaring income below P3 million VAT threshold.

Insiders said BIR Commissioner Lilia C. Guillermo, an old hand in the service, was not keen in reopening audit because she knew that it is a source of graft with taxpayers readily offering bribes to revenue officers to reduce tax liabilities.