EVEN if it rebrands itself into a “friendlier” and “service-oriented” government agency, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will continue to run after tax evaders like it did in the past, said Commissioner Cesar Dulay.
Enforcement programs in the bureau like the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) and the Oplan Kandado will continue to be implemented under his watch, he said.
“We have to continue law enforcement. We cannot stop running after tax evaders,” said Dulay in his visit to Cebu last week for the tax campaign kick-off.
To date, the BIR has filed 420 cases before the Department of Justice (DOJ). The tax chief said removing these programs could be abused by taxpayers and encourage more tax evaders.
“If we remove law enforcement, wala na pong voluntary compliance. Wala nang magbabayad ng buwis voluntarily kasi sasabihin nila na wala ng hahabol sa atin (No one will pay taxes on their own because they will think no one will go after them). The Run After Tax Evaders program will continue, our Oplan Kandado, for those violating the tax code, will continue,” Dulay emphasized, speaking before local tax officials and private organizations.
Under the RATE program, individuals and establishments suspected of tax fraud are investigated, prosecuted, and convicted. Some of the criminal tax violations covered by the RATE program include failure to file tax return, deliberate under declaration of income, non-remittance of withholding taxes, and keeping more than one set of books of accounts, among others.
Oplan Kandad goes after erring taxpayers by shutting down business operations based on specific grounds, including failure to issue VAT receipt, failure to file VAT return, understatement of VATable sales by 30 percent or more, or failure to register. The business can only be reopened upon compliance.