DoF mum on CATS probe

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The Finance department on Tuesday declined to comment on the status of a probe on alleged tax violations by luxury car importer CATS Motors Inc. (presently Auto Nation Group Inc.).

“We do not give updates when we check taxpayers. First of all, we don’t want them to know,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said.

“Let us say we start an investigation and we could not find something and it comes out in the papers, it would be unfair to the taxpayer,” he added.

“So we only want to do it when we are sure we have all the evidence.”


Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay earlier said he would follow up on the probe after a tax official said that the CATS case had been transferred five year ago 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 office of Commissioner Caesar Dulay,” BIR Deputy Commissioner Jesus Clint Aranas said.

The investigation was originally under the Legal and Inspection Group’s National Investigation Division (NID) during 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 Manila Times has so far been unable to secure a comment from 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.

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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