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BIR finds ‘discrepancies’ in Sereno’s tax filings

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An official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue told the House impeachment panel that some discrepancies were found in the tax records of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel Guballa told the committee that the BIR has issued a letter of authority to investigate the tax payments of CJ Ma. Lourdes Sereno in connection with her income from the PIATCO case in connection with the impeachment charges filed against her.

Guballa said the letter of authority was served to the Office of the Chief Justice on February 9.

After collating all the records of Sereno’s tax records, he said they have made their observations and arrived at some findings. This early, Guballa said, they have found “discrepancies.”

But he said the BIR cannot disclose the findings to the committee because they are prohibited from doing so under Section 270 of the National Internal Revenue Code.

He said his office had written the Office of the President a letter requesting permission to release their findings on Sereno’s tax payments to the House Committee on Justice.

But Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso said the BIR should review its stand because the committee is cloaked by the constitution with compulsory process to produce witnesses and documents.

Guballa assured the committee of the BIR’s cooperation, noting they have submitted the Income Tax Returns of Sereno from 2004 to 2009 as directed by the committee.