Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s Senate Bill 1199, An Act Ordaining a Bill of Rights and Obligations of the Taxpayer to protect taxpayers against any threat to their rights, is seen as a measure that will give taxpayers more protection, and attract them to settle their obligations religiously.
Gatchalian, in a news release, noted that in many instances, tax collecting agencies use their immense power and resources to go after taxpayers to their undue prejudice.
He said investigations made by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service of the Department of Finance (DOF) in April found employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to have engaged in “irregular” activities.
He also noted that of the 468 cases investigated from July 2016 to February 2022, a total of 16 employees were dismissed, 10 were found guilty in criminal cases, 35 were suspended, and seven were ordered to pay fines.
Only last July, the BOC reported that three of its personnel were dismissed, 27 were relieved, and seven were suspended.
“The Senate Committee on Ways and Means will focus on the taxpayers and their rights. We usually think of high taxes, but we forget the rights of the taxpayers,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the committee.
Under SB 1199, an Office of a National Taxpayer Advocate would ensure that rights are safeguarded, temper the government’s exercise of its taxing power, and afford taxpayers fair and reasonable treatment when dealing with revenue authorities.
The bill also promotes accessibility to the taxpayers’ rights and obligations, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises; and proposes the establishment of a micro and small taxpayer clinic program to be developed by the DOF to ensure fairness and the integrity of the tax system and settle disputes with any revenue authority.