BIR creates special disciplinary committee to probe tax examiners on questionable tax audits and investigations

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has issued Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 54-2016 creating a Special Disciplinary Committee (Committee) to speed up the investigation of revenue officers who fail the test of integrity, competence, and efficiency in the performance of their audit function or conduct of tax investigations in a move seen to further instill discipline among revenue officers in the conduct of their functions.

The Committee will investigate and hear cases of revenuers who have been asked to submit or have already submitted written explanations of what appear to be violations or substantial lapses or departure from existing issuances in the conduct of tax audit/investigations. These acts or omissions were engendered by a careful perusal of long outstanding Letters of Authority (LOA) and Letter Notices (LN) and pending reports of termination of investigation.

The discovery of the pending reports of termination of investigation was an offshoot of Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay's instruction to all investigating officers to submit an inventory of all their outstanding LOAs and LNs through Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 70-2016. Under Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 69-2010, reports of investigation/verification of cases covered by LOAs other than VAT claims for refund/credit shall be submitted within 180 days from the date of the authorizing document.

The Committee has full authority in the conduct and management of the investigation, which shall not be bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence ordinarily observed in judicial hearings. Under the RMO, cases brought before the Committee can be heard and decided within a matter of twenty-three (23) days. The Committee shall thereafter submit its report and recommendation to the Commissioner who shall then approve and sign the Committee's recommendation within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof, unless he decides otherwise.

The aggrieved revenue officer may file a motion for reconsideration of the Commissioner's decision within a period of five (5) days from receipt of the decision. If denied, the revenue officer may appeal to the appropriate administrative or judicial body or tribunal within the reglementary period as may be allowed under existing rules and regulations issued in pursuance of law.

Failure to appeal the Commissioner's decision shall render the same final and executory. A second motion for reconsideration shall not be allowed.

The Committee is composed of a Chairperson and six (6) members, including two (2) alternates. The Chairperson is an Assistant Commissioner of Internal Revenue (ACIR) and the members are from the Office of the Commissioner who are internal auditors and lawyers. It is set to hear the cases of at least 368 revenue officers who were served show cause orders and to explain within three (3) why they should not be charged administratively for their failure to terminate the investigation/verification of tax cases assigned to them and to submit the required reports of investigation.

Commissioner Dulay was a former Commissioner of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) during which he investigated complaints filed against members of the Philippine Bar, except those in the Judiciary, and recommended disciplinary or other appropriate action to the IBP Board of Governors for review by the Supreme Court.

Source: Philippine Information Agency