BIR: Panelco III must pay P400-M unpaid tax

CALASIAO— Pangasinan Electric Cooperative (Panelco) III will have to pay P400-million in unpaid tax dues to the national government.

This was asserted by Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares during her visit her for the inauguration of BIR’s regional office and the launching of ISO 9001:2008 certificate.

She told local media that the decision is final and executor. “The law applies to all,” she said.

Her visit was met with protest rally staged by member-consumers of the electric cooperative in eastern Pangasinan holding placards “Stop Levying. Panelco III is not for sale “, ”Welga Kami. Kondenahin ang Panggigipit ng BIR laban sa Panelco III,”, “BIR Region 1, lantaran ang kumisyon , pugad ng mga corrupt”, “We are on strike. Stop auction sale of Panelco III properties” and “Makibaka Ipaglaban ang Panelco III”

Henares said BIR is merely collecting what Panelco III collected its consumers but did not remit what is due the government.

She pointed out that due process was observed and a final decision has been reached.

“If you owe us, we will ask you to pay it. If you have protest, you tell us and if we find your protest is not valid, it will become final. You can go to court but if you don’t we have to collect the amount,” she explained.

Panelco III did not lodge a protest in court, reports said.

Meanwhile, Cris Perez, from Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan, leader of Member-Consumers Association of Panelco III, joined by some 200 members, said “We, the consumers, are affected here. We have a right in this protest because we have a share in the cooperative.”

He said the members fear that Panelco III might go bankrupt once BIR effects the collection but Henares said the consequences should be blamed on cooperative’s officials not BIR.

BIR said Panelco III has not been remitting its taxes since 2009.—Tita Roces

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