BIR to check on status of CATS probe

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The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said it would be checking on the status of a probe on alleged tax violations by luxury car importer CATS Motors Inc. (presently Auto Nation Group Inc.).

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“I have no information right now but we will check,” Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay told The Manila Times on Wednesday.

Deputy Commissioner for Legal and Inspection Group Jesus Clint Aranas had previously said that the CATS investigation had been transferred to the bureau’s Large Taxpayers Service (LTS) Division.

“In 2012, then BIR Commissioner Kim Henares ordered that the investigation be moved to the LTS. From then on until today, it was under the LTS which is directly under the offfice Commissioner Caesar Dulay,” Aranas said in a phone interview.

The investigation was originally under the Legal and Inspection Group’s National Investigation Division (NID) in the years 2009 to 2011.

“The NID finished the investigation for the said years before it was transferred to LTS. After that, we have no information about the investigation,” Aranas said.

The Times has so far been unable to secure a comment from the representatives of Auto Nation.

In a memorandum dated January 20, 2013, the Legal and Inspection Group noted possible tax violations given discrepancies between suggested retail prices and the company’s market prices.

For instance, a Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 with a market price of P19.8 million was declared as sold for only P4.9 million.

“Owing to the magnitude of discrepancy between the market prices and the actual dealer’s suggested retail prices of the vehicles sold by the above taxpayer and in accordance with the provisions of Section 248 (B) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 as amended, a prima facie evidence of tax fraud exists in the instant case,” the BIR memorandum stated.

Last year, the Customs bureau also reported discrepancies in payments made by Auto Nation, claiming the company owed the government P233.6 billion in duties and taxes for 2015.

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