SENATE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE CHAIR:

Tax cases must be settled in favor of govt

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SENATOR Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday insisted that proven tax deficiencies must be settled in favor of the government.

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This was the position of the legislator, who chairs the Senate ways and means committee, about alleged tax violations by luxury car importer Auto Nations Group Inc. (formerly CATS Motors Inc.).

Angara, however, admitted that he was not familiar with the details of the case, which remains held up at the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

In 2013, the BIR’s 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.

The case was transferred to the Large Taxpayers Group and BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay, who inherited the issue from the previous administration, earlier this month said he would look into the matter.

Last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez declined to comment, saying: “We do not give updates when we check taxpayers.”

“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.”

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.

Auto Nations has yet to issue a statement on supposed tax discrepancies.

Pending the outcome of the investigation, Angara said: “Any proven deficiencies must be settled in favor of the government.”

He could not say if the ways and means committee would be able to look into the issue as it is currently busy with the government’s proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) measure.

“We are hoping to have the committee report out soon, which will include updated excise taxes for automobiles,” Angara added.

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