BIR checks on taxes paid by GOCC execs

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is checking on the heads and board members of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to determine if they paid the right taxes while “swimming” in generous salaries and bonuses.

BIR commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares said GOCC heads and top executives are now being subjected to an audit to check on their tax fidelity.

She said not only wages and bonuses should have been paid with right taxes but also their stock options and other personal transactions.

“It is bad enough that they enjoyed high compensations and perks at the cost of public funds especially so if these agencies are losing heavily, it would be a lot worse if it turns out that they were not paying the right taxes,” Henares said.

She said the tax audit on GOCC top executives will go beyond what has been reported in the media based on the congressional inquiry of the Senate.

“We are not limiting ourselves only to what came out in the papers as a result of the Senate investigation. These people would be subjected to a much closer scrutiny,” Henares said.

The Senate has uncovered the “indecent” amount of salaries, bonuses and perks received by officials of GOCCs and their board of members which ran to millions.

The discovery led to the issuance of an executive order (EO) freezing the bonuses and perks of GOCC officials and board members up to December this year while a thorough review is being undertaken by government.

The government is also eyeing the decommissioning of a number of non-performing GOCCs while the existing ones would be rationalized to make them efficient.

The finance department has estimated the existence of at least 736 GOCCs, fourteen of which are closely watched or monitored for being heavily dependent on subsidy or advances from the government.

At least 52 of these GOCCs have registered losses in 2008, according to DOF data, with the NFA posting the highest net loss followed by Light Rail Transit Authority, Napocor, Bases Conversion Development Authority, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

Water regulator MWSS was among those GOCCs which have given generous perks and bonuses to its top executives while the company was losing money. Dino Ng

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