Aquino government files first tax evasion case

THE Aquino government filed its first tax evasion case on Thursday to launch its campaign to shore up shaky revenues and cut the budget deficit by cracking down on corruption and enforcing tax collection laws.

Finance officials went to the justice department to file tax evasion charges against pawnshop owner William Villarica, who they said paid only P25,600 in income tax between 1998 and 2009, but was able to buy a P26 million Lamborghini sports car.

“We would like to inform the paying public that it’s no longer business as usual and chances of being caught is higher,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told reporters.

Newly installed Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares said that the tax agency has been investigating Villarica since 2007, but was only able to file a criminal case against him now.

In the meantime, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she was reviewing tax cases referred by the finance department, pointing to a list that had names of 16 individuals and corporations.

The Philippines had a tax collection rate of 12.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP), lower than the regional average of 16 %, the finance minister said. (PIA-Bohol)

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