The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has released Memorandum Order 26-2016 dated June 13, which discusses the guidelines and policies in handling disputed tax assessments.

The memorandum emphasized the taxpayers’ right to question deficiencies in tax assessments sent by the BIR as part of its investigation. However, it should follow specific procedures and schedules on how and when to file the objection to an assessment.

"This is to put everything in one issuance and to make sure it is handled uniformly," The Philippine Star reported outgoing BIR Commissioner Kim Henares as saying.

The taxpayer may also file an objection to a pre-assessment notice but it is not mandatory.

A final assessment and formal letter of demand will be issued to a taxpayer after 15 days of the notice. Then, he or she will be given 30 days to request for re-investigation (reassessment) or reconsideration before the BIR.

The taxpayer must submit "relevant supporting documents" within 60 days from its request.

"Evaluation of protest shall be based exclusively on the documents submitted within this period, and no further document shall be accepted after the expiration," The BIR cited Memorandum Order 26-2016 as stating.

"The assessment shall become final and executory in the event the taxpayer fails to submit the relevant supporting documents with this 60 days period," it added.

The tax agency is given 60 days to act on a re-investigation request and 180 days for a reconsideration.

To rule on the protest, a final decision on a disputed assessment shall be issued, which may be appealed to the BIR commissioner. The taxpayer may also appeal before the Court of Tax Appeals within 30 days in case the BIR fails to act on the re-investigation or reconsideration request.

"Appeal to the commissioner or to the Court of Tax Appeals...shall not preclude the taxpayer from voluntarily settling the assessment partially or fully," the memorandum order further explained.