How BIR makes up for stolen gov’t funds
BECAUSE OF the excessive thievery in government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has been issuing orders and circulars, tightening its squeeze on the hapless taxpayers below to draw more “blood” to make up for the profuse “bleeding” above. The latest of those oppressive and ridiculous measures is Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 24-2016 dated June 7, 2016, prescribing the investigation of “parties” (i.e., both buyer and seller) in transactions involving the sale or transfer of real properties, among others.
As everybody knows, the Register of Deeds will neither entertain any submission for registration of a deed of sale for real estate nor for the transfer of its title to the buyer unless a Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) is first obtained from the BIR. That used to be a simple enough process. It was understandable. Capital gains tax and the documentary stamp tax on the transaction should first be collected, the taxpayers get that. But under the BIR’s new (midnight?) issuance, not only is the buyer to be investigated for financial capacity to buy the property which necessitates looking into all his tax compliances, but—horror of horrors!—the seller, too.
Here’s a common scenario: The owner of the property is in dire need of money to pay for hospital and medical expenses. He has no choice but to sell his property. How soon can he get the money? No buyer will now be crazy enough to pay him in full since there is no more telling when the BIR will issue any clearance. While the buyer may be sure about his own tax compliance, how can he be sure about the seller’s? The BIR now wants to pry, before it issues the CAR, into matters like how the seller was able to acquire the property he is now selling, whether or not he was paying his income taxes correctly, etc.
True, the RMO’s guidelines provide that the seller’s tax problems should not prejudice the eventual issuance of the CAR, it being unjust and unfair to the buyer. But the thing is, that tyrannical imposition creates another tangled red tape that allows wayward BIR personnel to continue doing shakedowns! How long their investigations will last depends entirely on their whims. Let’s face it, BIR investigators are not exactly known for their sterling personality and dedication to public service. Ask any Chinaman in Chinatown!
—ARNULFO M. EDRALIN, [email protected]
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