LRay urges BIR, BOC to catch another ‘Mighty’

CamSur Representative Luis Raymond LRay Villafuerte called on revenue-generating agencies to proceed without letup in their campaign against tax evaders by catching more big fish like Mighty Corporation, which coughed up a whopping P25 billion to settle its tax liabilities with the government.

Villafuerte, in lauding the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for exposing Mighty's massive tax fraud, said this accomplishment early on in the Duterte administration underscores this government's political will and commitment to enforce tax laws and run after big-time tax dodgers.

The BIR and BOC have shown that they can do their jobs effectively if the President and the Secretary of Finance are hell-bent on enforcing tax laws to the letter. They should be able to catch more big fish like 'Mighty' to send a clear signal that the government means business in its war against corruption and tax fraud, said Villafuerte, who, as a vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, sponsors the DOF's annual budget in the chamber's deliberations on the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Villafuerte, who is also vice chairman of the House committees on defense and local governments, said the Duterte administration's strong stance against tax evasion and ongoing initiatives to improve tax administration should all the more convince the Senate to pass the first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) that the House of Representatives already approved in the previous legislative session.

Effective tax administration, complemented by tax policy reforms to be carried out via the CTRP will provide the government the funds it needs to push through with its massive infrastructure buildup and maintain, if not even surpass, its economic growth targets of 7 to 8 percent starting next year, the CamSur lawmaker said.

Villafuerte was referring to the operations carried out by the BIR and BOC against Mighty Corporation, a Bulacan-based cigarette manufacturer that was caught using fake internal revenue stamps on their brands in three separate raids conducted on its warehouses earlier this year.

Mighty was forced to sell its assets to Japan Tobacco International (JTI) to be able to offer to settle its tax liabilities with the government to the tune of P25 billion, which Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said could rise to P30 billion once the value-added tax (VAT) on the sale is paid.

Last July 20, Mighty already deposited with the Land Bank the sum of P3.44 billion representing its initial payment for its tax deficiencies.

In his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last July 24, President Duterte directed the Department of Finance (DOF) and the BIR to accept Mighty's offer to avoid a protracted legal battle with the firm that could take years to resolve. -30-

The President made the right decision in accepting the settlement sum. Thirty billion pesos will help cover the costs of its ongoing efforts to rehabilitate areas like Marawi and other places hit by natural calamities, Villafuerte said.

Source: Department of Finance

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