TMAP pushes taxpayer bill of rights

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 22 2014 10:14 AM | Updated as of Mar 22 2014 06:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) is seeking the passage of a taxpayer bill of rights and responsibilities to ensure that all taxpaying individuals and corporations are adequately protected amid the government’s all-out war on tax cheats.

In a briefing yesterday, Rina Lorena-Manuel, TMAP president and concurrent head of Smart Communications Inc.’s tax department, said the organization’s main thrust for this year is to safeguard the rights of taxpayers while at the same time encouraging them to comply with their tax obligations.

Manuel said establishing a mechanism for taxpayer’s human rights will be a key component for the protection of people’s basic right to life as well as for the continued stability of economic development. The taxpayer bill of rights will clearly list the major rights and responsibilities of taxpayers.

“One of the proposals we are preparing for is a magna carta of taxpayers rights and responsibilities. This will be based on the model taxpayer charter that the Asia-Oceania Tax Consultants Association, of which TMAP is a member of, is espousing,” Manuel said.

Taxes derived from individuals and corporations fund the nation’s infrastructure and development.

Manuel underscored the need for the government to uphold procedural justice and plug the loopholes in its tax system to ensure fairness.

Manuel said the TMAP has already mentioned its proposal to Congressman Miro Quimbo, chairman of the House committee on ways and means.

“We want taxpayers to know they have rights but they must also know their responsibilities. So we will encourage them to provide accurate and timely information and pay the correct taxes,” she said.

She said the TMAP would also issue position papers on certain tax issuances to apprise taxpayers of the implications.

For one, the TMAP has posed objection to the significant changes introduced by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the assessment process such as the elimination of the informal conference and the process for filing request for investigation or reconsideration.

Manuel said the 15-day window given to a person or corporation to respond to a preliminary assessment notice issued by the BIR is not enough for the main tax collection agency to go through all records and come up with a fair decision.

She said the 15-day period will ultimately be rendered meaningless as the BIR will still issue a final letter of demand and final assessment notice to taxpayers who disagree with the agency’s findings of deficiency tax.