SENATOR Rafael ‘Raffy’ T. Tulfo urges the Committee on Ways and Means to exercise its oversight power to monitor all letters of authority issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, citing instances of their use in corruption on Tuesday. — PHILIPPINE STAR/JESSE BUSTOS

SENATOR Rafael “Raffy” T. Tulfo has called for congressional oversight of letters of authority (LoA) issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as they are allegedly being used for corruption by unscrupulous government officials.

LoAs are issued by the BIR to authorize revenue officers to start an audit of a taxpayer’s tax liabilities.

“I want a list of LoAs in the last three years, and then we should have an assigned group of people to do a thorough follow up on what happened to the LoAs,” Mr. Tulfo said at a Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing.

“How much did the government earn out of those LoAs? If there are none, there should be a case filed,” he added, citing reports of firms being able to import free of duties and taxes due to officers conniving with companies to bypass these obligations.

He said it was about time Congress had an oversight committee to monitor the LoAs issued not only by the BIR but also Bureau of Customs (BoC).

“Indeed, part of our powers in oversight is to request for the LoA from the BIR,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, the committee chairman, said at the same hearing. — John Victor D. Ordoñez