Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BIR closes down 475 stalls in 5 malls

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Tuesday broke the record for single-day closures under its Oplan Kandado (OK) Program after it shut down 475 stalls in 5 popular malls in Manila due to various tax violations.

The government's main tax agency said it closed down 208 shops in Binondo, including 85 stalls in the 168 Mall, 108 in the 999 Mall, and 15 in the 1188 Mall.

In Tondo, a total 267 business establishments -- 160 at the Tutuban Center and 107 at the New Divisoria Mall -- were padlocked.

The 475 businesses were shut down mainly because of their failure to register their operations with the BIR in spite of having been served notices.

BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Nelson Aspe, who signed the closure orders, said some shops were not issuing official receipts and paying the value-added tax.

“This should serve as a strong warning to all recalcitrant business operators. As long as they do not comply with the requirements of the Tax Code, we will spare no one from being closed under the OK Program of the BIR. This will go on until everybody has learned their lessons," Aspe said.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Estela Sales echoed the same sentiment. "This is just an administrative remedy (closures). If we find compelling reasons like substantial underdeclarations in their income/sales, we will file the necessary charges in court under our Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) Program. So heed our call and be spared of the dire consequences of non-compliance with our requirements.”

The BIR has estimated it was losing P100 million to P200 million in yearly revenues from the 475 shops alone.

Mall owners, meanwhile, welcomed the BIR's move to weed out non-compliant tenants. They assured that they would coordinated with the tax bureau regarding such efforts.

The BIR said it would be inspecting all malls throughout the country as pursuant to the OK program under the leadership of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.

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