MANILA (1st UPDATE) - Actor and television host Zoren Legaspi urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to junk tax evasion charges against him during the continuation on Friday of the preliminary investigation into the complaint filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Accompanied by his lawyer, Atty. Ricky Ribo, Legaspi submitted a 9-page counter-affidavit to investigating fiscal Assistant State Prosecutor Stewart Allan Marianon wherein the actor "vehemently" denied the P4.45 million tax raps.
According to Ribo, Legaspi did not willfully evade payment of correct taxes, and the alleged deficiencies in his income tax payments for taxable years 2010 and 2012, which are subject of the complaint, were due to the BIR's failure to credit his creditable withholding tax.
"Ang sinasabi namin, kinompute yung tax liability niya na hindi sinama yung kanyang creditable withholding tax -- ito yung pag nagbayad ka wini-withhold yung amount at nire-remit sa BIR. Yun ang hindi sinama sa computation.
"Unfair talaga. Tataas talaga 'pag hindi yun sinasama. It's just probably an error na kelangan lang i-correct. Alam naman natin na pagdating sa witholding tax hindi naman ang tax payer ang gumagawa ng form. Lahat yan naka-enter na yan eh... ibibigay sa 'yo, wala ka magagawa eh," Ribo said.
As for the admission of Legaspi's accountant, Flora Capili, that he bears multiple tax identification numbers (TINs), Legaspi said the other TINs are not his but of his namesakes.
The issue is not part of the complaint against him, but raises the possibility of another tax evasion case since having more than one TIN is penalized under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).
"Yung multiple TINs na yan, parehong nagkagulatan ang both parties... ako, nagtatanong from the BIR: paano ako nagkaroon po ng maraming TINs? So I guess, yung system, yung database, ang maaaring may problema," Legaspi said.
Legaspi's camp said he is willing to settle his alleged tax deficiencies given the "correct tax computation."
"Papaano natin sasabihin na sinadya? Walang sinadya. As a law abiding citizen, he is willing to pay basta the computation is in accordance with law and regulation," Ribo said.
Legaspi's camp stressed that there was no way for the actor to settle his alleged deficiencies prior to the filing of the complaint because he received the Letter of Authority (LOA) the BIR issued for him to produce relevant documents in connection with his income tax payments a day before the filing of the case before the DOJ. -- with a report from Noel Alamar, DZMM