Willful failure, a light offense?
By Divine Grace Fresco, President of ETM Tax Agent Office
June 17, 2016
The above image is an excerpt of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Revenue Memorandum Order 53-2010, more popularly known as Revised Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is purposed to maintain public confidence in the BIR and to safeguard their integrity and professionalism in the performance of their duties. I suggest if you do not have one; you download or get a certified true copy from the BIR Records division.
What is so disturbing is the above offense, pertaining to willful failure to pay just debts OR WILLFUL FAILURE TO PAY TAXES DUE TO GOVERNMENT is only considered as light offense in their Code of Conduct. Correspondingly, the penalty for first offense only involves reprimand; second offense will lead to suspension of one (1) up to thirty (30) days and for third offense, a dismissal is warranted.
In case you’re asking why it bothers me is because of the controversial, weekly filing of tax evasion cases of the BIR. The charge usually involves the alleged violation of Sections 254 and 255 of the NIRC – that is attempting to defeat and evade tax and willful failure to file, pay and supply correct and accurate information.
To date, I believe four hundred seventy (470) taxpayers were already charged of this and are now experiencing prosecution, mental and physical anguish, media exposed and smeared reputation ensued.
These 470+ taxpayers, out of these allegation already have tarnished name, discouraged morale and suffering the costs and burden a RATE audit carries. While those public officials who commits the same WILLFUL FAILURE only get a simple reprimand for first offense, a suspension not longer than a month and then dismissal for the third offense. NO criminal prosecution, NO media, NO audit instituted from within.
Unjust as it is, I believe the scale is still tilted favorably to the public officials, which are (according to the Supreme Court) expected to be vigilant and law-abiding. When they become errant and enterprising, the law says they should not be condoned. Even in their own BIR rules, they are presumed to have a working knowledge in taxation. What could be the (acceptable) rationale when a BIR commits a violation similarly charged to a regular taxpayer; the Code of Conduct softens in its penalty but the rule and procedures of the BIR are so severe when it comes to taxpayers. In tagalog, “parang hindi po balanse ang timbangan.”
I wish to have an answer for this. This accidental discovery of what seems to be cruel and absurd injustice shows how much we really need change.
Do you share the same sentiments? Feel free to comment your beliefs and opinion below.
P.S. Attend the upcoming seminar on July 16, 2016, Harnessing skills of Front-liners in receiving BIR Notices. Investment fee is only P 1,500 inclusive of VAT. For further inquiries you may call 921-6107 or 425-9225.
(Disclaimer: This article is posted based on the author’s conviction and belief, which shall be likewise considered as a privileged communication.)
This is a privileged communication.