BIR's Henares asks court to junk Tomas petition
- Mylen P. Manto (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Commisioner Kim Jacinto-Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is asking the court to deny the petition for mandamus filed by Congressman Tomas Osmeña, saying it lacks merit.

Earlier, Osmeña filed a petition to compel Henares to implement the law that provides the publication of the list of taxpayers as one way to discourage tax evaders.

Section 14 of the Republic Act 9480 known as the Tax Amnesty Act of 2007 cited the BIR Commissioner shall prepare an annual list containing the names of all taxpayers, their gross income and amount of taxes paid and allow the publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation or in the BIR website.

Osmeña said that though there is an existing law, the people remain deprived of information on income tax filings which for him causes “errant taxpayers continue to grossly under declare their taxable incomes.”

In a nine-page answer, Henares said she has no intention of violating the said law. However, she challenges “the remedy of mandamus in enforcing the publications of list of taxpayers and filers.”

Under the law, a petition for mandamus is when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act.

Henares claims she is not neglecting her duty.

“In view of the foregoing factual circumstances, the requirement of unlawful neglect in the performance of official functions is wanting in the instant case,” she said.

Moreover, she said she is willing to prepare a list of all names of taxpayers and publish it in the BIR website. But publishing such a list in at least two newspapers of general publication as stated under the law would be “too burdensome and costly for the government.”

“The publication thereof in the newspaper still requires appropriation of the government budget for taxable year concerned. At the moment, the General Appropriation Act for 2012 does not include any budget for the publication thereof,” her answer reads.

She said the best option is to have a list of income taxpayers published in the BIR website.

Meanwhile, Henares said that before elevating the case before the court, Osmeña should have addressed first his concern to the Secretary of the Department of Finance and the Office of the President.

“The petition for mandamus should be denied by the Honorable Court for being prematurely filed, for want of cause of action and for failure to exhaust prior administrative remedies prior to the filing thereof,” she said.

Henares likewise said the petitioner failed to show and established by sufficient and concrete evidence “that he has a clear legal right to the performance of the thing being demanded of respondent.” – (FREEMAN)

COMMISIONER KIM JACINTO-HENARES OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE CONGRESSMAN TOMAS OSME GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT HENARES HONORABLE COURT OSME REPUBLIC ACT SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT TAX AMNESTY ACT
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