FOR flaunting her lavish lifestyle and expensive accessories online, Jeane Catherine Napoles, daughter of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, was slapped with a P32-million tax evasion case by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The young Napoles “did not file an income tax return so she has income that’s undeclared. That’s why may tax evasion. You can’t have money if you’re not earning,” Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said Thursday.
Henares said Jeane did not file income tax returns for 2011 and 2012 or any donor’s tax if the properties under her name were donated to her.
“If they were gifts, there should be donors tax. If it came from her parents, there should be an estate tax. In all probability, she earned it, in which case there should be income tax otherwise she faces a tax evasion case. She has not paid donors or estate taxes,” she said.
Henares explained that the BIR can ask the help of the US government, where Napoles is allegedly staying, for more information.
“We can ask for help and information from any country with a double taxation treaty with BIR,” she added.
Jeane became the subject of controversy after photos of her lavish lifestyle surfaced in social networking sites.
Netizens were outraged upon seeing Jeane’s photos of her expensive belongings, despite her mother Janet’s assertion that they grew rich from coal mining in Indonesia, and that their wealth came from legitimate businesses.
The BIR has stepped into the picture, investigating the Napoles family’s properties. In an ANC interview, Henares stated that there was nothing wrong with displaying one’s wealth, so long as one pays the corresponding taxes.
She confirmed that someone came forward with photos and information on the Napoles family.
The scandal first leaked in July, four months after the National Bureau of Investigation rescued kidnap victim Benhur Luy, a distant relative and personal assistant of Janet, from a condominium unit in Bonifacio Global City.
Jeane allegedly owns a unit worth P80 million at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Los Angeles.
Her Tumblr account revealed that she had traveled to Paris, London, and Los Angeles.
Her LinkedIn account lists her as having been president of the Honor Roll Society at her college, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA, where she was an International Manufacturing & Product Development major and graduated magna cum laude last year, according to her mother.
The tuition at FIDM differs for each major. For an IMPD major such as Jeane, the tuition would have cost around $42,405 inclusive of two study tours to Asia and Europe.
According to her Tumblr account, midway in her studies at FIDM, Napoles lived in the penthouse suite of 1010 Wilshire in L.A. before moving to the Ritz-Carlton.
Henares said the bureau used the expenditure method of investigation, where the unreported income of Napoles was established by a comparison made between the amount of money she spent in buying the aforementioned properties and her unreported income.
This method of tax investigation is based on the theory that if the subject taxpayer’s expenditures during a given year exceed his or her reported income, and the source of the funds used to make the expenditures is unexplained, such expenditures represent unreported income.
Thus, the difference between the aggregate yearly expenditure of Napoles for taxable years 2011 and 2012 and total amount of unreported income for the same years constituted a substantial under-declaration of more than thirty percent, and such unreported income is considered as prima facie evidence of her fraudulent scheme to defeat payment of taxes.
At a press conference on Thursday, Henares said their investigation will continue to include the other Napoles children—Jo Christine, James Christopher and Christian.
“We want to know how much is their total tax liability,” the BIR chief said.
Already facing the same tax suits before the Justice department are Napoles and her husband Jaime, who have total tax liabilities of P44.68 million and P16.43 million, respectively.
Henares said the BIR is also investigating the corporations linked to Napoles, who is jailed at Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa in Laguna over a serious illegal detention case.