Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is still determining the correct amount that Mighty Corporation should pay in deficiency taxes as lawyers for the cigarette manufacturing firm have been “obstructing” government efforts to look into its business activities.
“We have not received any written order from the President. [BIR Commissioner] Billy Dulay has not even finished quantifying how much (Mighty) should pay,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez added that “we are having a hard time determining how much the taxes should be because the lawyers of Mighty have been obstructing us.”
Earlier, Dominguez said the BIR and Bureau of Customs (BOC) are busy gathering evidence for submission to the Department of Justice (DOJ), “preparatory to the government’s filing of an air-tight case against Mighty Corp. for tax evasion and other possible charges.”
“The government needs to first establish strong evidence to pin down this cigarette manufacturer on such charges,” Dominguez said. “We must make sure the charges stick not only to haul the guilty parties, including their possible cohorts in the government, into jail but to send a clear message to big-time tax dodgers that the Duterte administration is dead set on putting an end to their nefarious activities and sending all of them behind bars.”
Dominguez issued this statement on the heels of his call on the BIR and BOC last week to file soon enough the appropriate charges against persons and companies proven to be the owners of P2.2 billion-worth of smuggled and counterfeit tobacco products, shoes and clothes that government agents had seized in a series of raids.
Among the seized goods were cigarette brands manufactured by Mighty Corp. with fake tax stamps that BOC operatives had seized in raids in Pampanga and the cities of General Santos and Zamboanga in Mindanao.
“They (BOC and BIR) should speed up their investigations and also look into the possible involvement of bureaucrats acting as protectors of these large-scale tax evasion attempts,” he said.
According to Action for Economic Reform senior economist and trustee Jo-Ann Diosana, “If the law is followed, Mighty must pay as much as P15 billion in taxes.”