By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed yesterday tax evasion charges in court against Rappler Holding Corporation (RHC), an affiliate of online news outfit Rappler, for alleged non-payment of income and value-added taxes amounting to more than P133.8 million.
Included in the criminal complaint filed with the Department of Justice are Maria Ressa and James Bitanga, president and treasurer, respectively, of RHC.
According to the charge, RHC engaged in the buy and sale of real estate properties, shares of stocks and bonds, purchased common shares of Rappler news worth P19 million in 2015.
Subsequently, RHC issued and sold Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR) for P181.6 million to two foreign companies.
PDR is a financial instrument that allows a foreigner to invest in a Philippine company without owning part of it.
BIR officials said RHC did not allegedly pay income tax and VAT in the transaction.
Also included in the charge sheet is certified public accountant Noel Baladiang who allegedly signed the financial statement of RHC despite errors in his client’s actual taxable income.