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All-out drive vs erring taxpayers

Manila, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has launched an aggressive collection drive to recover the multi-billion peso tax debts from delinquent taxpayers that have been accumulating through the years, it was learned yesterday.

The Commission on Audited (CoA) provided the P300-billion estimate of the uncollected tax debts although BIR insiders said it is inaccurate because it included assessments that can no longer be collected.

The tax drive is being undertaken through the new Arrears Management (AM) and the Management Forfeited Assets (MFA) programs initiated by BIR Commissioner Kim S. Henares.

It has been said that since time immemorial, these delinquent tax accounts ballooned to more than P300 billion based on the CoA report.

But BIR insiders expressed doubts if the bureau could succeed in collecting the bulk of the unpaid tax debts.

They said that through the MFA, the bureau has been issuing Warrant of Distraint and Levy (WDL) against bank deposits, properties, and other assets of delinquent taxpayers.

However, BIR seizure agents oftentimes return empty-handed either because the negligent taxpayers had died with no assets or they have no bank accounts.

They said many of these outstanding tax liabilities are still the subject of court litigations that resulted to a sharp increase in the amount of the tax debts due to surcharges and interests.

The revenue officials disclosed that the delinquent tax accounts included some P40- billion worth of properties from the estate of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

They said the BIR cannot touch the Marcos’ assets due to objections from the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) that declared them ill-gotten and belonging to the State.

Some of Marcos’ properties were seized and sold in public auction but there were no takers. (Jun Ramirez)