MANILA - Sarangani Representative and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and his wife, Jinkee, are asking the Supreme Court (SC) to permanently stop the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) from seizing their assets.
In a 75-page memorandum filed by the couple, they urged the high court to stop the BIR from implementing its warrant of distraint and levy and garnishment order, which stemmed from Pacquiao's alleged tax deficiency that has ballooned to more than P3 billion.
They also urged the SC to set aside the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) order requiring a deposit of P3.2 billion cash bond or P4.9 billion surety bond as a condition to suspend tax collection.
"Respondent Commissioner's (Kim Henares) failure to validly and completely assess petitioners-Pacquiao couple (given the absence of an Final Decision on Disputed Assessment) a mandatory pre-requisite for collection clearly deprives her of authority to collect against petitioners and make all actions taken pursuant to the collection efforts of respondent Commissioner and her representatives null and void and no effect whatsoever," the memo states.
The couple added that BIR Commissioner Kim Henares violated the requirements for tax collection when she demanded to collect the taxes prior to the expiration of the period to pay the assessed deficiency taxes.
They also said the tax agency failed to provide them copies of the garnishment order.
"Petitioners have been made hapless subjects of a ruthless name and shame campaign designed to strike fear in the hearts of our citizenry in the hope that they will voluntarily pay more taxes than what is rightfully due, or risk the vengeful ire of the tax collector," the memorandum to the SC says.
The BIR, meanwhile, has sought the dismissal of Pacquiao's petition in its own 37-page memorandum through Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said Section 11 of Republic Act No. 1125 requires the posting of a bond in order to suspend the payment of the levy, distraint and sale of any property to satisfy the taxpayer's tax liabilities.
The BIR has filed a motion asking the CTA to allow it to present additional evidence and defer the resolution of the case.
The motion was filed after the appellate court denied the tax agency’s request to dismiss the case for being time-barred and for lack of jurisdiction.
Pacquiao's camp opposed the BIR motion and sought the resolution of the petition for review in 2013.
During the course of the hearings on the petition for review, Pacquiao also asked the CTA to order the suspension of the collection of taxes in light of the issuance of a warrant of garnishment.
In 2014, the CTA allowed the lifting of the garnishment order on condition that the boxer posts a cash bond or surety bond. -- With a report from Zhander Cayabyab, dzMM