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BIR dismayed over CTA order on Pacquiao case

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has expressed surprise and dismay over the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) to lift the seizure warrants it issued against the bank deposits and real estate properties of Senator Manny Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee in connection to their alleged multi-billion-peso tax debts.

The BIR said the lifting of the Warrants of Distraint Levy (WDL) and Garnishment was premature as the case is still under preliminary hearings and has not yet reached pre-trial stage.

It can be recalled the CTA’s First Division had cancelled seizure warrants in its resolution last July 27 “for lack of merit” and scheduled the pre-trial conference on August 30.

The BIR said it has yet to receive a copy of the court’s resolution as of yesterday.

The BIR said it learned about the CTA resolution through the news that it lost the case against Pacquiao when in fact the case has not yet been tried.

It said the case will have to go to trial first before the determination of the actual merits.

“The case will continue until it is finally decided and decision is rendered in favor of one party,” one BIR lawyer said.

Pacquiao was assessed for deficiency income and value-added-taxes (VAT) for the years 2008 and 2009 amounting to more than R3 billion including interests and surcharges covering his prize winnings for successfully defending his various boxing titles in the United States.

The lawmaker was cited for alleged failure to provide the BIR with documents on his income outside the Philippines and non-filing and non-payment of VAT on local income.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the requirement of posting of the bond by Pacquiao. The bond is fixed at R4.9 billion, equivalent to one and one-half percent of the amount to be collected.

The writ shall remain in effect until related issues are settled in the preliminary hearing to be conducted by the CTA like the notice of informal conferences and whether fraud on the part of the petitioners (Pacquiao) was duly established by the BIR. (Jun Ramirez)