BIR: April 16 deadline for filing ITRs to stay, late filers to pay penalties

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MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Internal Revenue said the April 16 deadline for the filing of income tax returns would not be extended, saying those who failed to meet the deadline should prepare to pay the penalties.

“There will be no extension of the deadline,” BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said in a text message.

Penalties for late filing include a 20-percent interest per annum, a 25-percent surcharge, and a compromise fee dependent on one’s tax due.

Prior to Monday’s deadline, the BIR had been urging the public to file their ITRs and pay their taxes on time, hoping to generate significant tax revenues from the public early in the year given its task to fund bulk of the government’s higher expenditure requirements for 2012.

Tax officials said taxpayers should have filed their ITRs on time, given the constant reminder by the BIR and given recent moves of the tax bureau to ease the process of filing of returns and payment of taxes. For instance, there is now an option for taxpayers to file tax returns and pay taxes online.

Henares said the BIR has been requiring taxpayers to use new forms for filing their tax returns. The new forms, use of which was embodied in BIR Revenue Regulation 19-2011, which was issued in 2011, had more fields to be filled up to provide the tax bureau more taxpayer information.

The new forms are downloadable from the BIR’s website (www.bir.gov.ph), and so taxpayers need not queue in BIR offices just to get the forms.

“The interactive (version) of the forms are made available so people may fill it up on the computer before printing so they won’t have to get in line to acquire forms in their respective regional branches anymore,” an information officer said.

Taxpayers may also pay taxes through accredited agent banks (AABs), giving them options besides BIR offices as to where to file their tax liabilities. The list of banks accredited to accept tax payments is posted on the website.

The BIR said that besides the campaign for on-time payment of tax obligations, the campaign against tax evasion – the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) – has been another program that has helped shore up revenue collection of the government.

Under the RATE program, the tax bureau files tax evasion charges on a weekly basis against suspected tax cheats, hoping to encourage the public to pay taxes correctly.

The BIR is tasked to collect P1.066 trillion in taxes this year to help fund the government’s expenditure programs. The 2012 full-year tax collection target is higher by 15 percent from the actual tax collection of P924.15 billion last year.

Taxes collected by the BIR account for about 60 percent of total revenues of the national government.

In January, the BIR collected P85.15 billion, 2-percent short of the P87.28-billion target for the month. Henares had said, however, that the slight shortfall in January was not expected to drag efforts to meet the full-year target, which she said was attainable.

Tax collection in January, although short of target, marked a 14-percent increase from the P74.57 billion collected in the same month in 2011.

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