Sen. Bongbong directs BIR officials to assist legitimate cooperatives
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. and his counterpart in the joint congressional oversight committee on cooperatives berated the Bureau of Internal Revenue for failing to live up to its promise to stop pestering legitimate cooperatives that are supposed to be exempt from paying tax.
Marcos, who acted as chairman for the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, and Rep. Cresente Paez for the Lower House contingent were exasperated after the BIR failed to submit during the hearing of the joint committee a detailed report on how many cooperatives in the country managed to get Certificates of Tax Exemption.
The CTE is BIR’s formal recognition of the tax-exempt status of a cooperative.
“We’re very dissatisfied. I cannot state it strongly enough, that there has been no progress on this issue and the best that you can do is to tell us that you have issued some certificates of tax exemption,” Marcos said during a hearing of the joint congressional panel last March 13, 2014.
“You cannot tell us how many have applied. You cannot tell us the reasons why those that have applied and have not been issued—what the reasons are for that. It doesn’t help the committee at all in trying to determine what’s the best course of action for the cooperatives to get their CTE’s, so that they are already recognized by the BIR as tax exempt,” he added.
Marcos noted BIR has given assurances to the joint congressional committee assurances that it is clear with the agency that according to the law accredited cooperatives in good standing with the Cooperative Development Authority are indeed tax exempt.
“And yet, every single day, we get reports of your operatives at the lower level, especially at the provincial and regional level, requiring all kinds of documents, requiring all kinds of action that is very difficult, especially for larger cooperatives to comply with,” he stressed.
What is worse, according to Marcos, is that these requirements the BIR had imposed on cooperatives, are not found in any implementing rules and regulations (IRR) or in any law.
Marcos, Vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, has recently delivered in the Senate floor his sponsorship speech of the committee report on a measure to strengthen the CDA.
The bill includes an express provision that a CDA accreditation should be enough basis for the BIR to recognize the tax exempt status of a cooperative.