By Jeffrey Damicog
Actor Richard Gutierrez has been cleared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of tax evasion amounting to around P18 million.
The DOJ has issued a resolution which dismissed the complaint filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against RGutz Production Corp. and Gutierrez, its president.
“After a careful evaluation of the evidence presented by the parties, we find the complainant’s evidence insufficient to establish probable cause against the respondents,” read the resolution.
In its complaint, the BIR accused RGutz of having violated the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 (NIRC), particularly, for attempt to evade or defeat tax; and for failure to file return, supply correct and accurate information, pay tax, withhold and remit tax and refund excess taxes withheld on compensation.
The BIR claimed RGutz owed the government a total of P7,449,789.80 in income tax and P11,115,806.90 in value added tax for undeclared sales in 2012 amounting to P39,604,824.67 from transactions it made with GMA network.
However, RGutz, which insisted that taxes were paid, contested the complaint as being premature since the BIR did not afford it an opportunity to contest, reconcile, or pay the alleged deficiencies when it failed to issue a notice of informal conference pursuant to its own rules.
The DOJ agreed with the respondent considering RGutz submitted as evidence BIR’s “final notice” dated September 2017 when the complaint has already been submitted for resolution.
“It has been settled that before one is prosecuted for willful failure to pay tax under Section 255 of the Tax Code, the fact that a tax is due must first be proved,” the DOJ stressed.
“BIR’s action in sending the said notice only shows that it was still conducting investigation as to the tax due from respondent and, therefore, a final determination of the tax due from him has not yet been made,” it explained
The DOJ also dismissed a second complaint of the BIR against Gutierrez which is an offshoot of the first complaint.
Under the second complaint, the BIR accused Gutierrez of falsification of public documents in violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); perjury in violation of the RPC; and for violating Section 255 of the NIRC.
In dismissing the second complaint, the DOJ reminded that Gutierrez showed evidence that BIR prematurely filed its complaints.
“It seems that complainant BIR was in a quandary of whether the complaints were prematurely filed and that they have no adequate evidence to support their complaints so as to resort to a subsequent examination of respondents’ accounting records and other relevant records,” it stated.