Some officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) allegedly come out with fake tax assessments to extort money from businesses and big-time taxpayers, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.
He dubbed it a “pabaon” modus, where BIR personnel reportedly ask for sums of money to be given as a send-off gift to some outgoing officials.
The politiko also claimed several extortion cases reported in BIR offices in Ilocos Sur, Dipolog City and Zamboanga City.
“Bago natin pag-usapan na taasan ang buwis o taasan ang mga singilin, dapat sugpuin muna natin ang korapsyon dahil ang makikinabang lang dyan ay ‘yung mga corrupt officials na tinataas naman ang mga pekeng assessments nila,” the senator said in a statement.
“Dapat tuloy-tuloy lang ang laban natin sa korapsyon hanggang sa maayos ang sistema,” he added.
Gatchalian said the process of areglo or setting a lower tax payable for small businesses in exchange of bribes should be put to an end.
“Marami sa ating mga maliliit na negosyante ay kinikikilan ng ilang hindi matitinong kawani ng gobyerno. Hindi ko nilalahat pero alam naman natin na meron tayong mga BIR officials na nangha-harass o tinataas ‘yung tax assessment para makahingi sila ng pera kapag nakiusap na babaan ang tax assessment,” he said. “Ito muna ang unahin natin, yung sugpuin iyong ganitong korapsyon.”
“If there’s political will, we can improve tax collection, build taxpayers’ trust in government and ensure increased revenue,” he added, referring to the incoming administration of president-elect Bongbong Marcos.
“People are willing to pay when they know that their taxes are well spent on services due them.”