BIR Orders Agents: Seize Erring Taxpayers’ Assets

MANILA, Philippines --- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has ordered its seizure agents nationwide to immediately confiscate the properties of individual and business taxpayers who refuse to settle their tax liabilities, it was disclosed yesterday.

It said the seizure should prioritize ''assets which can easily be converted into cash.''

In issuing Operations Memorandum Order No. 13-02-006, BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares said the hard-line policy should be adopted if the delinquent taxpayers reject the ''persuasive approach.''

The BIR chief said it is possible that delinquent taxpayers ''are simply not fully aware of the existence of unpaid tax liabilities with the bureau.''

In confiscating the assets of delinquent taxpayers, she said seizure agents must give priority to items which can easily be converted into cash like cars, bank deposits, and marketable securities like investments and shares of stocks.

Ms. Henares noted that many of the forfeited personal assets were either obsolete or can no longer be located as they were confiscated more than a decade ago.

She said many seized real estate properties cannot be dispose off because they were occupied by squatter families, ownership subject to court litigation, or have huge real estate tax debts with the local governments.

She recalled that when the BIR conducted a nationwide ''Mega Auction'' of forfeited lands and structures last November 28, 2012 only very few were sold.

She said seizure of properties is not only tedious and time-consuming, but costly to the government from the time they were confiscated to finally disposed off.

She said seizure agents ''must adopt a system to expedite the collection of tax arrears in a manner that enforcement actions are more focused on immediately cash-convertible assets and giving less priority to seizure of difficult and costly-to-dispose assets.''

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