Prieto-led Dunkin' Donuts franchiser facing tax evasion complaint

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Friday filed a tax evasion case against the local franchiser of U.S. brand Dunkin' Donuts.

Led by the Prieto family, Golden Donuts Inc. (GDI), the exclusive franchiser and license grantee of Dunkin' Donuts, is facing a P1.12-billion tax evasion complaint before the Department of Justice.

BIR filed the complaint against GDI President Walter Spakowski, Treasurer Miguel Prieto, Chief Financial Officer Pedro Paraiso, and Vice President for Finance and Administration Jocelyn Santos.

"GDI and its corporate officers are likewise being held civilly liable in the complaint for income tax, value added tax and expanded withholding tax deficiencies, all covering taxable year 2007, in the total amount of PhP1,118,331,640.79, inclusive of surcharges and interests," BIR said in a statement.

BIR said sales invoices issued by various suppliers were "intentionally altered" to conform to substantiation requirements.

It said it started the investigation against GDI when it received a "confidential information" that the company made a substantial under declaration on its sales.

GDI denied evading taxes, saying its tax liabilities for 2007 have been settled as of 2012.

"Further, it has always been compliant with all tax laws and regulations, as evidenced by tax clearances issued by the BIR over the years," the GDI said in a statement.

The GDI said it has not received a copy of the complaint yet, but is ready to respond to allegations in the proper forum.


Duterte and Prietos

President Rodrigo Duterte in April 2017 said the Prieto family, which he said owns Dunkin' Donuts in the country, has not been paying the right taxes since the previous administration.

"Inquirer ang may-ari ng Dunkin' Donuts. Alam mo ba 'yan? At may utang 'yan sila na taxes, inayos ni (former BIR Commissioner) Kim Henares. Walang ibinayad o nabayad ng konti lang," he said in a speech in Puerto Princesa on April 6, 2017.

The President has repeatedly called out Inquirer, also owned by the Prieto family, for alleged biased coverage against his administration.

The government in August also accused the Prieto and Rufino families of owing the country P1.676 billion in unpaid rentals for the Mile Long commercial property in the Makati Central Business District.

BIR is going after tax delinquents under its Run After Tax Evaders program.