Philrem executives Salud Bautista and her husband Michael can now heave a sigh of relief after the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the tax evasion complaint filed against them by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
“After a meticulous and careful evaluation of the evidence presented by both parties, we fail to find probable cause to indict respondents,” a DOJ resolution read.
In filing the case, the BIR accused Philrem of failing to pay P31.5 million in taxes from 2005 to 2014 since the company was registered with the Bangko Sental ng Pilipinas (BSP) as a remittance agent and has been classified as a Non-Banking Financial Institution (NBFI).
This means it should have been filing Percentage Tax Returns (PTR) and paying five percent Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) instead of Value Added Tax (VAT).
However, the DOJ learned that Philrem was “not given ample time to comply with the directive of complaint agency to present its books and documents for examination and verification” and, because of this, “the crucial element of willfulness to evade payment of taxes imposed by law cannot be imposed against respondent-officers of Philrem”.
Also, the DOJ emphasized that “fraudulent intent to evade tax on the part of respondent is negated by the fact that they have been consistently paying a higher rate of tax, that is 12 percent VAT instead of the incurred 2 percent GRT, from 2010 to the present”.
It also cited that “Philrem never concealed its change of business line from BIR Revenue District Office (RDO) 47, where it periodically and consistently files its tax returns and pays its tax obligations regarding its change of operations from 2005 to the present”.