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BIR reorganization rejected

The Budget Department rejected the proposed reorganization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, saying the plan could affect some functions of the tax collection agency.

BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay earlier asked the DBM approval to transfer the Internal Affairs Service from the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Group to the Office of the Commissioner.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a letter to Dulay that it would be “more prudent and appropriate” to retain the current organizational arrangement, which has the Internal Affairs Service under the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Group.

The reorganization request was made at a time the BIR was dealing with high-profile tax evasion cases involving Del Monte Philippines Inc. and local cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp.

The BIR accepted P65.4 million to settle Del Monte’s three-year tax discrepancies initially valued at P8.7 billion. The controversy was the subject of two congressional committee hearings.  A plunder case was also filed against top BIR officials including Dulay.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno

Mighty Corp., meanwhile, accused BIR of using “malfunctioning devices” that ended up tagging their products as bearing fake tax stamps.

Under the present setup, the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Group oversees the conduct of preliminary investigation, hearing of administrative cases and recommending courses of action for the

approval of the commissioner.

Observers said that by seeking to have the IAS unit transferred under Dulay’s jurisdiction, the BIR chief was inadvertently painting himself into a corner. They also said the move might be interpreted as his attempt to control the outcome of any IAS probe.

Diokno, in declining the BIR request for a reorganization, said “there are enormous tasks, which, when transferred to the Office of the Commissioner, may unduly burden the Commissioner of the responsibility of direct supervision over the IAS.”

“Moreover, the Larger Taxpayers Service, whose functions include the development of policies/standards/guidelines, as well as enforcement of internal revenue laws and regulations involving large taxpayers, already reports directly to the commissioner, thus posing considerable

demand on executive time,” Diokno said.

Diokno said that on the proposed integration of the functions of the Performance Evaluation Division with the IAS, the two units were “distinct.”

The PED monitors organizational performance, while IAS deals with erring personnel and how to effectively contain and minimize corruption among the ranks, he said.

“It is, therefore, not pragmatic to subsume PED under the IAS,” Diokno said.  

“We recognize the need to facilitate the resolution of cases against officials and employees of the BIR and to strengthen its anti-corruption program,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier tagged the BIR, the Bureau of Customs and the Land Transportation Office as the most corrupt agencies in the government.

Results of a survey done by Social Weather Stations in October 2016 showed that BIR’s sincerity rating in fighting corruption was “poor” with a score of -27, while BoC rated -68 or “very bad” and

LTO’s sincerity rating was -47 or “bad.”

Topics: Secretary Benjamin Diokno , Budget Department , Bureau of Internal Revenue , Reorganization , Caesar Dulay
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