In his book “Got A Question About Taxes! Ask The Tax Wiz”, MON ABREA (CPA,MBA) tells us why we, Filipinos (even those that are unemployed), should push for tax reforms.

“More taxes means excess budget for the government, unwise spending, more graft and corruption. Less taxes means more disposable income for the people, more budget for food and education, more savings and investments per household.”

A recipient of the 2015 Asia CEO Young Leader of the Year Award and one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awardee of 2015, Abrea suggests the re-structuring of income tax brackets for individuals and ultimately the reduction of personal and corporate income tax rates.

“If the government lowers our income taxes, it means more disposable income for every household and more working capital for businesses. This means more companies will be able to hire more employees or to give salary increases and bonuses,” Abrea added.

But as the World Bank reiterated, we need to broaden first our taxpayer base before we could lower out taxes.

The new management of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) led by Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay seems to understand this very well as they have this as one of the priorities and major accomplishments of the agency from the period of June 2016 to June 2017.

We had a chance to talk to the commissioner during the 113th Founding Anniversary of the BIR held last Wednesday (August 2) at their National Office in Agham Road.

Commissioner Dulay said that during the period, the agency was able to collect a total of 1.643T Pesos – an 8.61% increase from the previous year plus a 5% increase in taxpayer base with 32,306 newly registered corporations and 882,615 newly registered individual taxpayers.

The increase was attributed to the management’s ongoing tax administration reforms with three principal objectives:

  1. Attain Collection Targets
  2. Improve Taxpayer Satisfaction
  3. Protect Revenues & Recapture Public Trust

The agency which provides the government with 80% of its revenues every year is tasked to collect 1.829T Pesos in taxes this fiscal year.

To do this, the commissioner said that aside from the concentrated efforts in implementing the Tax Compliance Verification Drive (TCVD) or Tax Mapping, the agency aims to improve taxpayer satisfaction with their continuous streamlining initiatives.

  • Primary and Secondary requirements and processes are now lumped into one, such upon submission of the complete documentary requirements, processing and releasing of the Certificate of Registration (CoR), Books of Accounts and Auto-Approved Authority to Print Receipts (ATP) are now considered as a single registration process.
  • The number of steps to process registration of new business taxpayers was reduced from 6 steps to only 3
  • The number of documentary requirements was slashed from 13 documents to 5.
  • Documents to register a branch is now at 4 from the previous of 9.
  • To secure an ATP, only 4 documents are now required.
  • Processing of Certificates Authorizing Registration (CAR) is now five (5) days from submission of complete documentary requirements.
  • Validity period of CARs is now three years from one year and the number of signatories is now down to 4 from the previous 8. Additionally, certified true copies of the original CAR is no longer required as well as copies of the manually issued CAR and proofs of tax payments.
  • Issuance of Tax Clearances for bidding purposes is now within 2 working days from the submission of complete documentary requirements which is now down to 7 from 20.
  • Importers Clearance Certificates (ICC) and Brokers Clearance Certificates (BCC) can now be released in 5 working days compared to 15 in the past while requiring only 7 documents instead of 20.
  • Also, a total of 109 Revenue District Office (RDO) nationwide is equipped with an e-Lounge facility that provides e-services like electronic filing and payment system and electronic BIR forms.

source: BIR Streamlining Initiatives and eServices by Sherry Ann Cuyos and Japhet Gasga

To further improve quality of service, BIR also signed a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to improve and expedite various processes.

With all these endeavors, the agency hopes to increase taxpayer satisfaction and restore the confidence of the whole nation to the bureau.

The commissioner however appealed to congress to approve the bill proposing to remove BIR from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) to attract more personnel to join the tax agency. According to reports, the agency suspended all BIR audit which is said to be the source of corruption, 379 revenue officers were called to explain themselves based on taxpayer complaints while erring examiners were put under investigation.

At present, Commissioner Dulay said that they are operating at half-strength and is in badly need of additional personnel with a total of 4,044 unfilled entry level positions as of May 2017.

“To be able to collect 1.829T Pesos, we need people, we need personnel, so part of our program for 2017 is to go and get more people to join us,” Commissioner Dulay concluded.

Among those who attended the 113th Anniversary of BIR are President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez.

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BIR Aims To Get Back Public Trust with Ongoing Reforms
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