Mercury Drugs in Olongapo closed by BIR
Olongapo City - Three branches of major drugstore chain Mercury Drug Corp. were shuttered yesterday for tax violations and deficiencies.
Revenue District Officer Alfredo P. Santos led the closure under Oplan Kandado. "The closure was done after the failure and neglect of delinquent taxpayers to fulfill their obligations despite a series of notices," he said.
Mr. Santos said the three franchises are along Gordon Ave., managed and operated by Benso Champ Corp.; along Arthur street near the Olongapo City public market, by Benso Winners Corp.; and along the national highway near the Victory Liner bus terminal, by Ascending Ray Corp.
He noted that Benso Champ has an income tax liability of P500,000 and VAT deficiency of P2.7 million for 2007; Benso Winner incurred tax deficiencies of P1 million for income and P5.7 million for VAT; and Ascending Ray with P1.6 million for income and P9.2 million for VAT.
During the closure operations, Mercury Drug store Manager Andrea Tabong told BIR officials that the company is "dutifully paying correct taxes... We will not ruin the good image of our company only because of nonpayment of correct taxes." She said they would seek a reconsideration of the closure order.
Also in Olongapo, Mr. Santos said another establishment engaged in selling variety items was also closed under Oplan Kandado.
He said Villegas General Merchandise underdeclared sales last year by as much as 91% of actual sales, adding the store has liabilities of P1 million for income and P2 million for VAT.
BIR Assistant Regional Director Simplicio A. Madulara, for his part, said that apart from the closure of establishments in Olongapo City, simultaneous operations under Oplan Kandado were conducted yesterday in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija that resulted in 11 other shuttered establishments engaged in the restaurant, hotel and grocery businesses.
Under Oplan Kandado, establishments with unpaid tax obligations will be closed until they settle their dues. Other grounds for closure are non-issuance of receipts or invoices and failure to register operations.
The BIR has so far closed more than 70 establishments since it was launched early this year.
Officials have claimed that the Oplan Kandado will promote tax compliance as it will prod businesses to pay the proper amount of taxes.
The BIR is mandated to collect P798.5 billion this year. — A. D. B. Romero and Rey Garcia - Business World online