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Business

BIR files tax evasion raps against Rico's Lechon founder, 5 others

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
tax
Past administrations made a push to rat out delinquent taxpayers. The government’s long-running Run After Tax Evaders program has been in place since 2005.
Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — Taxmen are going after the founder of Rico’s Lechon for his alleged failure to pay the correct taxes.

In a statement on Friday, the Bureau of Internal Revenue said it filed a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice against Enrico Dionson, founder of the hugely-popular Cebu lechon brand, for evading taxes amounting to P48.5 million. The amount supposedly represents Dionson’s tax liabilities from 2008 to 2013.

Dionson is no stranger to controversies. In 2017, then-mayor Cebu City Tomas Osmeña ordered three branches of Rico’s Lechon closed in the city as Dionson faced allegations of not paying taxes amounting to P48 million at the time. The roasted pig brand only reopened in Cebu in 2019.

It was unclear if BIR’s complaint against Dionson stemmed from the tax issue four years ago.

Apart from Dionson, the BIR also filed separate tax evasion raps against five other individuals: licensed contractor Napbonaparte Acio, Susan Abaigar of Southern Hardware and Construction Supply, Swee Kim Tan Go of Liana’s trading, Desiree Ruales Saludo of MDMA Trading and Amelia E. Balatayo of Raba Mini Sawmill.

All in all, these persons allegedly owe the tax agency a whopping P179.18 million.

In the complaints, the tax bureau accused the respondents of violating Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997. Violators of Sec. 254 would face fines up to P10 million and prison time of up to 10 years, while breaching Sec. 255 entails smaller fines.

The BIR said they sent Dionson and others tax assessments and several requests for records, but they “failed to either pay or protest and submit relevant supporting documents to either substantiate their claims or to refute said assessments or to file an appeal with the Court of Tax Appeals.”

The bureau said it was left with no choice but to sue the respondents. “The respondents’ failure and continued refusal to file or pay their long overdue deficiency taxes, despite repeated demands, constitute willful failure to file or pay the taxes due to the government,” the BIR said.

Past administrations made a push to rat out delinquent taxpayers. The government’s long-running Run After Tax Evaders program has been in place since 2005.

BIR

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE

TAX EVASION

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