BIR says 86% of taxes collected via online channels

BIR taxpayers

SOME 86% of tax payments were made online after the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) on-site operations were hampered by the quarantine, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

In a statement, the DoF said P1.241 trillion of the BIR’s total tax collections of P1.45 trillion between January and September were collected via electronic payment channels.

According to preliminary data, tax returns filed electronically hit 16.45 million, or 94% of the total in the nine months.

“The BIR and BoC (Bureau of Customs)… have implemented various digital tools to facilitate trade, make the filing and payment of taxes and duties easier and more convenient for taxpayers, and curb corruption,” the DoF said, citing a report from the two agencies.

The BIR in February included the digital wallet Paymaya application to its accredited electronic payment platforms. Also accepting tax payments were the Gcash e-wallet app, the Land Bank of the Philippines e-payment portal Linkbiz, the PayTax service of the Development Bank of the Philippines, the UnionBank Online app and PESONet.

It also launched in April pilot operations for its web-based Internal Revenue Integrated System, which will centralize the processing of taxpayer information. The system is targeted for full launch by the end of 2021, according to the bureau.

The Electronic Audited Financial System introduced in June also allowed businesses to submit their financial statements to the bureau digitally, while an e-appointment facility was set up in October for taxpayers to raise concerns online.

The BIR also launched its digital Procurement, Payment, Inventory and Monitoring System and the Online Application for Tax Clearance for Bidding Purposes last month as part of its digital shift.

The BIR, the leading revenue-generating agency, is also aiming to launch its One-Time Transactions Tracking System, which was developed in house, and the taxpayer identification number Verifier mobile application this year.

The BoC in June started accepting customs duties and fees through PayMaya and has been simplifying its processes with the aid of the Customer Care Portal System, through which shippers and brokers can digitally track the status of their inquiries, requests and concerns.

It also launched the Customs Service Center in February as a receiving and releasing portal for documents, featuring an information kiosk and payment functions. The bureau has installed these centers in 13 major ports to date.

Tax collections hit P2.059 trillion in the 10 months to October, with BIR revenue down 10.4% at P1.596 trillion and Customs revenue down 15% at P448.6 billion. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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