Manila Bulletin – Sat, May 3, 2014
Manila, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) yesterday reminded self-employed professionals, excluding lawyers, that they have until Monday to submit the client appointment books and schedule of service fees they charge their clients to the revenue district offices where they are registered.
Lawyers were granted exemption due to temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) questioned the legality of Revenue Regulations No. 4-2014 issued by BIR Commisioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares last March 3.
Doctors and other professional groups did not question the regulations before the high tribunal, although they protested, claiming them as against the tenets of their respective professions.
Henares warned that failure to submit the documents will result in the criminal prosecution of the offenders for violating Sections 254 (attempt to evade or defeat tax) and 275 (violation of the rules and regulations) of the Tax Code.
If found guilty, they would be meted jail term from six months to four years and fine of up to P30,000.
In seeking for a TRO, the IBP said that the BIR has no authority to look into service fees of lawyers as the practice of the profession is regulated and controlled by the SC.
Revenue officials, however, expressed confidence that they will eventually win the case.
One top BIR official said the guideline does not question the authority of the SC to regulate service fees of lawyers “but purely on the determination and collection of taxes.”
Revenue Regulations No. 4-2014 was issued in lieu of an earlier proposal to require professionals to post in their offices schedule of service fee rates, like those in restaurants and barbershops.
The plan was also opposed by professionals declaring that they are not into business but offering services to their clients.