CoA finds San Juan business tax undercollection of P736-M

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THE Commission on Audit (CoA) said San Juan City failed to inspect the books of eight top taxpayers in 2017 and 2018, resulting in the undercollection of business taxes worth about P736 million.

According to CoA’s 2018 audit report, the eight taxpayers were identified as Puregold Price Club, Inc.; Ortigas & Co. LP; Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc.; Motor Image Manila, Inc., Techtron Systems Corp.; Colinas Verdes Hospital Managers Corp.; Unimart, Inc.; and Integrated Computer Systems, Inc.

“The City could have collected more business tax had the City Treasury Department (CTD) prioritized conducting examination of books of account of those large businesses,” CoA said.

CoA added that a CTD official cited difficulties in obtaining audited financial statements, “especially of those large business taxpayers, in the ‘I View’ Program of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).”

It added that the city was only able to inspect accounts of “mid-range business taxpayers.”

CoA recommended that the city’s treasury department seek assistance from the SEC and Bureau of Internal Revenue in gathering financial information to determine gross sales levels being declared by business owners.

In the report, CoA noted that the city treasurer said during the exit conference that the CTD examination team has gained access to the SEC I-View facility, but “the data available therein are those covering (calendar year) 2017 and prior years only.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras