BIR to look for other ways to monitor lawyers' tax payments

Posted at 04/24/14 10:51 AM


MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has to look for other ways to monitor the tax payments of lawyers, after the Supreme Court stopped the agency from requiring lawyers to disclose their fees.

BIR deputy commissioner Nelson Aspe said they have to reply on the payment declaration of the lawyers' clients, but he admitted the agency is helpless if the clients decide not to make a declaration.

He noted without the TRO, the BIR's tax collections would improve.

Under the BIR's new rule mandates all self-employed professionals to submit an annual list of professional efes charged for services rendered.

But the TRO only covers lawyers.

"We have a lot of monitoring mechanisms. For instance, we'll just wait for the reports of the withholding agents, their clients but these are limited to clients which are engaged in trade and business," Aspe said on ANC's Headstart.

Questioning legality of BIR rule

Meanwhile, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Vicente Joyas said they are not trying to evade the payment of correct taxes, but are just questioning the legality of the BIR's rule.

He stressed that under the Constitution, only the Judiciary can create rules for the legal profession.

He added that if the court decides to uphold the rule's legality, they will comply with the order.

"The issue here is the legality of the revenue regulation," Joyas said.

"The Supreme Court said even legal fees should not be disclosed because if we are going to place a price tag on every case that would be a publication which is prohibited by our by-laws... We cannot justify the end simply by the means employed because the means employed will be illegal," he said. - ANC