BROADCAST firm GMA Network Inc. owes P823 million in overdue taxes and associated penalties for the past four years, according to the Quezon City government.
City treasurer Edgar Villanueva said the unpaid taxes represent "business tax deficiency/delinquency including surcharges and penalties for the period of 2006 to 2010."
But GMA Network said it has been diligently paying taxes.
Ronaldo Mastrili, GMA Network’s vice president for finance, said the company paid P266,190,773.43 in taxes from 2006 to 2010.
"Modesty aside, GMA’s diligence in paying the local government taxes has earned for us several awards given by the City government itself. We were even awarded the Hall of Fame Award for 2010 for being among the elite top taxpayers of the city for five consecutive years," said Mastrili.
A staff member of the QC Administrator’s Office said GMA Network has been "really paying its local taxes but only for the franchise tax and not the business tax."
"After an extensive audit, the QC government just found out na may deficiency with regard paying business tax. But, although may tax deficiency sila, we are not saying na nag-e-evade sila…We are also not saying that they are avoiding paying taxes. Magaling naman talaga silang magbayad ng tax. May kulang lang," the source said.
The source noted that if a business is categorized as contractor like GMA Network, the law allows the city government to collect 75 percent of 1 percent of gross income for the business tax.
For franchise tax, the source said the city government can collect 57 percent of 1 percent of gross income.
"Other sales incurred like selling of their properties, rental et al, will be taxed at 2 percent," the source added.
Villanueva said GMA Network has to settle its back taxes "within 15 days" from the receipt of the notice letter.
GMA Network in its annual report said the company’s earnings last year reached P2.82 billion.
BY ANGELA LOPEZ DE LEON