‘BIR memo could have prevented scam’

Posted on July 28, 2011

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AN existing memorandum issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) could have prevented a land tax scam that claimed hundreds of taxpayers as victims in Balamban town.

The Provincial Board (PB) learned about this in yesterday’s meeting with BIR officials.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said a BIR order directed the Land Registration Authority “to annotate in the transfer of certificate of title the serial number of the certificate.”

She said the serial number of the certificate issued by the BIR enables the agency to verify tax payments and ensure the validity of the payments of the taxpayer.

Magpale said each certificate has a unique serial number.

The vice governor said BIR officials admitted that the memorandum was not being implemented by their office.

A copy of the memorandum was given to Provincial Assessor Anthony Sususco to be distributed to all municipal assessors in the province.

BIR officials also proposed that tax verifiers will be assigned to the provincial assessor’s office.

Tax verifiers will determine if the issued receipts on tax payments were authentic or not, they said.

In a separate interview Zenin Tabanao, BIR investigation division chief, told Cebu Daily News that they are still investigating the Balamban land tax scam.

She said the victims will have to pay their taxes again.

“We will be collecting the taxes to be imposed all over again. We have to collect,” she said.

“They should avoid using fixers. They should be the one to go there to pay,” Tabanao said.

For her part, Magpale said the institution of these policies will help prevent another tax scam and reduce the presence of fixers in local government. /Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus