MANILA - Challenge accepted.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue is filing a tax evasion case against outgoing Philippine Medical Association president Leo Olarte for tax liabilities amounting to P2.93 million.
This is after the PMA official challenged the BIR to file a complaint against tax-evading doctors instead of portraying the entire medical profession as tax cheats.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said Olarte is facing charges for willfully evading declaration of income taxes and for several counts of deliberate failure to file his income tax returns and VAT returns for taxable years 2006-2012.
Henares noted Olarte is a medical practitioner and lawyer who teaches both medicine and torts and damages at the Far Eastern University and the University of the East. He is a registered taxpayer of Quezon City with business address at the National Children's Hospital.
The BIR chief said Olarte has been deriving compensation income concurrently from two or more employers for a 7-year period.
An alpha list submitted by various withholding agents of Olarte showed that the PMA president earned the following sums from 2006-2012.
2006 - P569,825.88;
2007 - P221,206.22;
2008 - P226,186.90;
2009 - P774,940.59;
2010 - P715,515.62;
2011 - P992,298.84;
2012 - P1,191,576.01.
Henares said Olarte failed to file his income tax returns and VAT Returns and consequently, failed to pay his taxes for taxable years 2006 to 2012.
The BIR also said the PMA president adopted the scheme of "end-dating" his records with the Integrated Tax System of the BIR to avoid detection of his non-filing of income tax return and the non-payment of income tax and thus, precluding the computer system from generating open cases against him.
"The law says the only person who does not have to file an income tax return are people who are employed by a single employer, whose taxes have been properly withheld. As you can see, he is employed by several people and he has his own profession so he is required by law to file an income tax return," Henares said.
"Secondly, he is also required by law because he registered himself as a VAT taxpayer. He is required by law to file VAT returns and pay VAT and he did not do this. He cannot say he does not know because he is a lawyer," she added.
The BIR chief said Olarte had earlier challenged the tax bureau to file a case against doctors who are tax cheats instead of making insinuations.
"Alam niyo, ganito lang naman yun. Di ba ho sabi niya kung mayroon kaming alam na doctor (na di nagbabayad ng tax), imbes na nag-i-insinuate kami, file-an na lang namin, di ba? So, pinagbigyan ko lang naman yung request niya eh," she said.
"Sabi niya kung meron kaming alam na doctor na di nagbabayad ng tama at di nag fa file ng tama, bakit hindi siya na lang ang file-an natin. You can review all his press statements. Rather than mandamay pa siya ng ibang tao, e di tignan na lang muna natin yung nagsasalita. Yun ang request niya at yun ang pinagbigyan namin," she added.
Olarte earlier criticized the BIR for printing an ad that showed public school teachers paying more taxes than doctors.
In the half-page ad, a lady doctor, supposedly not paying the right taxes, was depicted riding on the shoulder of a lady teacher, who supposedly paid the correct tax.
The ad had a caption that said, "When you don't pay your taxes, you're a burden to those who do," and a link to knowyourtaxes.ph.
Olarte said the medical profession will never be a burden, and appealed to Henares to further intensify PMA and BIR's existing partnership by doing more joint activities on taxations.
“We would also appreciate it if she [Henares] can temper BIR's public relation spinmeisters to practice their trade fairly by refraining from engaging in tactics that can be viewed as irritants and divisive to both our organization's common goals in nation building," Olarte added.