BIR to tell court why Pacquiao bank accounts were seized

By David Cagahastian, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jan 29 2014 07:46 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2014 03:46 PM

MANILA - The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) on Monday ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and boxing icon and Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani to submit their arguments on the issue of the legality of the warrants of distraint and levy issued against his bank accounts, after which the CTA will decide on Pacquiao’s petition to lift the said warrants.

CTA Presiding Justice Roman del Rosario gave the BIR and Pacquiao’s lawyers three days to file their formal offer of evidence, then another three days to respond to each other’s formal offer of evidence. After which, the court will issue a resolution on the formal offer of evidence.

The BIR and Pacquiao, represented by the Romulo Mabanta law offices, would then have five days to file their written arguments on the issue of the legality of the warrants of distraint and levy issued by Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares to freeze Pacquiao’s bank accounts.

The warrants of distraint and levy were issued since August 2013 to ensure collection of a P2.26-billion tax deficiency assessed by the BIR against Pacquiao from his earnings from fights in the US in 2008 to 2009.

Lawyer Felix Velasco, the BIR’s lawyer in the case, said the BIR’s maintains its argument that Pacquiao’s lawyers had filed his appeal before the CTA beyond the reglamentary period, which means that the final decision on the disputed assessment (FDDA) issued against him has already become final and unappealable. According to the National Internal Revenue Code and the relevant revenue regulations, the FDDA shall become final and unappealable 30 days after the service of the FDDA to the taxpayer assessed to have incurred deficiency taxes.

The FDDA was “constructively served” upon through personal service made by the BIR at Pacquiao’s office at the House of Representatives on May 20, 2013, which means that Pacquiao had 30 days from that date to appeal the assessment on deficiency taxes before the CTA.

But Pacquiao’s lawyers claim that the appeal they filed before the CTA in August 2013, or more than 30 days after the “constructive service,” was filed within the prescribed period of 30 days for perfecting the appeal. They claim that the so-called “constructive service” of the FDDA was flawed and, therefore, invalid.