GMA, Inquirer.net execs face tax evasion raps

MANILA Revenue officials on Thursday filed criminal tax evasion charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against eleven corporations, including the now-defunct internet publishing firm INQ7 Interactive Inc.

Named as respondents in the complaint against GMA and Inquirer are GMA chairman and chief executive officer Felipe Gozon and Inquirer.net president Paolo Prieto.

"These cases went through usual procedures and nevertheless they did not pay the taxes. Now the taxes have become due and demandable and the failure to pay the due and demandable taxes are crimes under the tax court hence the filing of these cases," Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Assistant Commissioner James H. Roldan explained to newsmen.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Marissa O. Cabreros, meanwhile, urged the public and officials of corporations concerned to avoid a similar predicament by availing of the BIR's amnesty program for tax delinquents which will remain in effect until April.

Cabreros described INQ7 Interactive Inc. to be a domestic corporation primarily engaged in internet publishing and together with its responsible corporate officer, it is being sued for a total tax deficiency liability for taxable year 2006 amounting to PHP23,479,467.13, inclusive of increments, she said.

In its complaint, the BIR accused the respondents of willful failure to pay taxes in violation of Section 255 in relation to 253 (d) and 256 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

In February 2001, the two media firms launched INQ7 which served as a joint platform for their content. Its main business offers text, images, audio, video and online interactive information tools such as discussion boards, polls, and searchable news archives.

In 2006, the portal was dissolved as the two media giants ended their partnership and decided to establish their own news websites.

Aside from INQ7, BIR's Makati City office said the 10 other respondents area Ski Construction Group, Inc.; Prestige Cars Makati, Inc.; Lucky Charm Pub and Restaurant Corp.; Underground Logic, Inc.; JP Med Asian Pacific, Inc.; Information Products Corp.; Tridem Asia Publishing, Inc.; Integrated Dynamic Service, Inc.; Calcarries International, Inc.; and Eurobrokers International, Inc. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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