Henares denies BIR bullying SC

Posted at 08/08/14 1:03 PM

MANILA – Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares denied allegations that the executive is using her agency to bully the Supreme Court.

Henares denied that the BIR's issuance of the Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) 23-2014 was a tool to ''harrass'' the SC and its employees.

Under the RMO, the BIR clarified that fringe benefits cited in the Tax Code and other bonuses exceeding P30,000 shall be taxed, and withholding officers will face fines for failing to make tax deductions.

Government employees, including court employees blasted the BIR and called the RMO oppressive.

Henares said the RMO covers not only SC employees but all employees across the bureaucracy.

''Kinover ko lahat [sa RMO] eh - constitutional bodies, legislative, judiciary. Wala naman akong sinabing SC [lang],'' she told ANC.

She said the RMO merely implements the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

Henares said the private sector and Executive branch of government are already implementing this, and have been strictly monitored for compliance.

However, the BIR chief noted the Judiciary has been "remiss" in complying with this particular section of the Tax Code. She cited the case of the allowances of ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona which were discovered to have not been taxed.

Administration critics believe that the executive department is retaliating against the SC, through BIR, in the wake of the high court's ruling over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

''My mandate is to implement this law. As far as I am concerned, I am deaf, mute, blind to all that noise. The country depends on us collecting the revenue,'' Henares said.

Justices' SALNs

Henares earlier slammed the high court after it denied her request for the justices' Statement of Assets, Liabilites and Net Worth (SALN) from 2003 to 2012 for investigation purposes.

Henares denied any links between the request and the DAP ruling. She said the request for the SALN copies were made in December 2013. The SC declared certain acts in the DAP unconstitutional last June.

She said the request for the SALNs was an offshoot of the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed from office in May 2012 for failing to include in his SALNs all his peso and dollar accounts.

She also claimed that the investigation will also deal with the bribery and influence peddling allegations in the judiciary.

Meanwhile, Henares said she is opposed to proposals to raise the ceiling of taxable income from the current P30,000 to P75,000. She said doing so would reduce government revenues.