You have submitted an FOI request
Date: 2022-01-26 16:45:29.739671
Your request is already in review
Date: 2022-01-26 22:06:59.275077
Your request was denied
Date: 2022-02-07 16:21:59.550981
How was your request?
Requested from BIR by J. Ebora at 04:45 PM on
Jan 26, 2022.
Purpose: For reference purposes.
Date of Coverage: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
Tracking no: #BIR-017214152737
In reply, please be informed that Section 13, Chapter V (Standard Procedure) of the Freedom of Information Manual (FOI Manual) of the Bureau requires that the reason for or the purpose of the request for information must be specific or adequately and sufficiently described. A general averment of the purpose, such as the one stated in your request, that is, “for reference purposes” will not suffice. The FOI Manual expressly provides that the “(f)ailure to specify the reason for or the purpose of the request for information shall be a ground for denial of the FOI request. Thus, having failed to specify your reason for the request, the same cannot be granted. Moreover, Section 270 of the National Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code) of 1997, as amended , provides, to wit: "SEC. 270. Unlawful Divulgence of Information. — Except as provided in Sections 6(F) and 71 of this Code and Section 26 of Republic Act No. 6388, any officer or employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue who divulges to any person or makes known in any other manner than may be provided by law information regarding the business, income or estate of any taxpayer, the secrets, operation, style or work, or apparatus of any manufacturer or producer, or confidential information regarding the business of any taxpayer, knowledge of which was acquired by him in the discharge of his official duties, shall, upon conviction for each act or omission, be punished by a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000), or suffer imprisonment of not less than two (2) years but not more than five (5) years, or both. Any officer or employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue who divulges or makes known in any other manner to any person other than the requesting foreign tax authority information obtained from banks and financial institutions pursuant to Section 6 (F), knowledge or information acquired by him in the discharge of his official duties, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (₱500,000) but not more than One million pesos (₱1,000,000), or suffer imprisonment of not less than two (2) years but not more than five (5) years, or both." The above provision sets forth the "unlawful divulgence" rule by which the personnel of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) cannot divulge information gained from taxpayers concerning his business, income, or estate as well as the secrets, operation, style or work, or apparatus of any manufacturer or producer, or confidential information regarding the business of any taxpayer. The aforesaid provision is clear in its intent to protect taxpayers from having their otherwise sensitive and private information unnecessarily revealed to other parties. The request for proof of tax payments is basically a request for the taxpayer’s tax returns that necessarily contain information regarding his income. While there are exceptions to the coverage of the aforesaid Section namely: (1) information given by the BIR pursuant to a request by a foreign tax authority under an existing tax treaty under Section 6(F)(3) of the NIRC of 1997, as amended; (2) disposition of income tax returns under Section 71 also of the NIRC of 1997, as amended; and (3) disclosure of income tax returns under Section 26 of Republic Act No. 6388 in case of an individual who files a certificate of candidacy and executes a waiver for the examination of his returns, your request, however, does not fall under any of the foregoing. In view of the foregoing, your request may not be granted pursuant to the prohibition under Section 270 of the Tax Code of 1997, as amended, as well as for failure to specify the reason for the aforesaid request. Please be guided accordingly. Sincerely yours, Chief, Law and Legislative Division
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