Press Release
August 25, 2010


To effectively prosecute tax evasion cases, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has filed a bill giving Bureau of Internal Revenue legal officers the "exclusive authority" to investigate, prosecute and handle tax-related cases in the court.

In Senate Bill No. 133, Enrile explained that "the efforts of the BIR to collect taxes by effectively prosecuting various tax-related cases have remained hampered due to the bureaucratic processes currently existing in our justice system." Such failure has been one of the causes of chronic revenue deficits of government.

Enrile pointed out that under the provisions of Republic Act No. 8424, or the "Tax Reform Act of 1997", civil and criminal actions and proceedings instituted in behalf of the Government shall be conducted by the legal officers of the BIR.

"However, due to the limited manpower of the BIR, it has become their practice to refer to the Department of Justice (DOJ) various cases relating to collection assessment for the determination of probable cause prior to the filing of appropriate cases," Enrile, a noted tax lawyer, said.

"Contrary to the intent of the law, this present system has reportedly become a breeding ground for corruption as some taxpayers manipulate the system by conniving with the prosecutors of the DOJ to delay resolution of their cases or, in some instances, resolve the cases in their favor," he added.

In his bill, Enrile seeks to amend Republic Act 8424 to authorize the legal officers of the BIR to investigate, prosecute, file and handle exclusively all tax-related cases. At the same time, the bill also vests in the Department of Finance the authority to review every criminal complaint before proper cases are filed in court.

'When enacted into law, these amendments will allow the Bureau to expand their legal department to provide the necessary assistance in processing these cases. The practice of referring these cases to the DOJ, therefore, will be eliminated and the probability of collusion between the prosecutors of the DOJ and taxpayers will be removed."

Enrile said that greater efficiency in the collection of taxes by the BIR would result in improved internal revenue collections, thus reducing the chronic budgetary deficit plaguing the government. The BIR is the biggest collector of government revenue.

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