P150.68 million Tax evasion case

MANILA, Philippines–The Bureau of Internal Revenue on Thursday filed a tax evasion case worth P150.68 million at the Department of Justice against former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

Aside from Corona, also included in the complaint are his daughter, Ma. Carla Beatriz C. Castillo, and son-in- law, Constantino T. Castillo III.

Corona, a registered taxpayer of Revenue District Office No. 32 that covers Sampaloc, Sta Mesa and San Miguel, served as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Chief of Staff,presidential spokesman and acting executive secretary before she appointed him as Associate Justice in the Supreme Court and as Chief Justice.

As a public official from 2002 to 2010, Corona was required to submit under oath his statement of assets, liabilities and networth annually including that of his spouse and children under 18 years of age.

In his SALNs, Corona’s net worth ranged between P7 million to P22 million in the nine-year period.

But BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said Corona did not declare all his assets in his SALN.

“Aside from the bank deposits, he also did not declare two real properties he acquired during his stint in government: a condominium unit at the Columns, along Ayala Avenue that he bought for P3.6 million in 2004 and a property in Fort Bonifacio that he bought for P9.16 million in 2005,” Henares added.

After examining Corona’s bank records and compared it with his networth, Henares said they discovered a substantial disparity between the acquisition cost of the properties declared in his SALNs and the cost declared in the certificates authorizing registrations.

Using the “expenditure method,” the BIR found that Corona’s deficiency income tax liability amounted to P120.5 million for the nine-year period.

The method used was based on the theory that if a taxpayer’s expenditure in a given year exceeded his reported income, the excess spending would represent unreported income.

Corona’s daughter, meanwhile, was charged for violating section 254 of the National Internal Revenue Code or attempting to evade or defeat taxes in 2010 and violating section 255 or failing to file an income tax return for the same year.

Castillo is also facing the same violation for attempting to evade taxes in 2003 and 2009 and violating section 255 of the NIRC or failing to file an income tax return in 2003.

Based on the complaint, Castillo registered with the BIR in 1998 but filed his income tax returns only from 2005 to 2009.
Castillo declared a total income of only P1.933 million for the five-year period. His wife, on the other hand, only filed income tax returns for only 2008 and 2009 where she declared a total income of only P228,040.

While the Castillo couple’s declared income amounted to less than P3 million, they were able to acquire three properties: a P10.5-million property in Project 3, Quezon City, a P15-million commercial property in Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City and an P18-million mansion in La Vista, Quezon City.

The BIR said Castillo’s tax liability was P20.25 million while the deficiency income tax liability of Corona’s daughter amounted to P9.93 million.

Tax evasion case filed vs Corona.
By Tetch Torres

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