BIR files P133.84-million tax-evasion complaint vs Rappler Holdings

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has filed a criminal complaint against Rappler Holdings Corp. (RHC) on Thursday at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for willful attempt to evade or defeat tax and for deliberate failure to supply correct and accurate information in its annual income-tax return (ITR) and value-added tax (VAT) returns for taxable year 2015.

The BIR said it has filed at the DOJ a criminal complaint against RHC, together with its president, Maria A. Ressa and Treasurer James C. Bitanga, for willful attempt to evade or defeat tax for taxable year 2015, which is in violation of the National Internal Revenue Code.

RHC, the owner of Rappler Inc., allegedly purchased common shares from Rappler Inc. on various dates amounting to P19.24 million. It engages in sale and purchase of real and personal properties, including shares of capital stocks, bonds or other securities and obligations.

The BIR said RHC subsequently issued and sold Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) on various dates to two foreign juridical entities for P181.65 million, and it used the same common shares it bought from Rappler Inc. as the underlying share of the PDRs.

The BIR said the purchase of the shares and the subsequent issuance of the PDRs for profit that transmitted economic rights derived from the equity of Rappler Inc. to the PDR holders is proof that RHC is engaged in the purchase of securities and resale thereof to customers.

“As dealer in securities, RHC is subject to income tax and VAT.

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