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Bacolod City, PhilippinesTuesday, August 23, 2011
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House investigation pushed
on P6-B BOC tax refunds

A lawmaker yesterday urged the House of Representatives to scrutinize the list of companies covered by tax refunds of the Bureau of Customs amounting to almost P6 billion for next year.

Rep. Elpidio Barzaga (Dasmariñas City) raised this concern during the budget hearing of the BOC presided over by Rep. Isidoro Ungab ( Davao City, third district), a vice chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.

Barzaga asked Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez, who defended his budget before the House panel, to submit the list of specific companies covered by the BOC tax refunds for next year totaling P5,976,414,000.

He said Congress will find out if these companies are entitled to tax refund considering that no case has been lodged by these entities against the government asking for tax refund.

“We want to see the list of entities and the amount for which they are entitled so we can be reasonable in our assessment of the almost P6 billion tax refund, because when we speak of tax refund, it presupposes there is already a liability on the part of the government to refund,” Barzaga said.

“We want also to determine if they are entitled to the refund since no case has been filed by the taxpayers asking for a tax refund,” he also said.

Barzaga said that based on the statements of Alvarez during the budget hearing, there has been no final judgment in so far as the Court of Tax Appeals is concerned ordering the payment of tax refunds.

"In other words, there is no court litigation, and much more there is no final judgment," Barzaga said.

He said that if there had been overpayment of taxes, it only showed that BOC personnel were remiss in the performance of their duties.

"They are demanding something which the government is not entitled to, and for this, the government has to pay P6 billion. I have been attending committee hearings and this is the first time that I came across that P6 billion has to be refunded by the government," Barzaga said.

Alvarez explained there are cases with the BOC involving overpayment of duties and taxes by importers.

Alvarez said he has encountered a number of requests from importers about double payments and overpayments. "The bulk of these come from the oil companies because in the case of oil companies they are no longer being subjected to duty payments but are now being required to pay the value added tax upon importation."

For the year 2010, Alvarez said some of the importers given Tax Credit Certificates were Lepanto Consolidated Mining, Petron Corporation, Philex Mining, among others. Petron was able to get a TCC amounting to close to P8 billion, Alvarez said.*PNA



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