MANILA, Philippines -- The Bureau of Internal Revenue's computer system became heavily congested on Tuesday, functioning much slower than usual, as thousands of large corporate taxpayers tried to beat the April 15 deadline for payment of the income tax, officials said.
Because of the failure of the BIR's computer system to accommodate the huge volume of tax returns submitted electronically, the tax agency has extended the deadline for large companies to pay the income tax until Thursday, April 17.
Deputy Revenue Commissioner Nelson Aspe said that the extension covered only large companies, which are mandated by the tax agency to pay taxes and submit their income tax returns electronically. There are about 10,000 large taxpayers registered with the BIR.
The extension means that large companies that will pay their taxes on Wednesday and Thursday will not be penalized.
Individual taxpayers and smaller companies that file returns and pay taxes manually are not covered by the extension. Aspe said they were not hampered by disruptions in the BIR's ability to accept payments, although thousands of "manual" income tax return filers also trooped to various BIR offices and accredited banks to beat the deadline.
The huge number of taxpayers meeting the deadline for the filing of income tax returns on Tuesday followed the BIR's announcement that it would strictly implement the penalties for late filing.
The BIR slaps an outright 25-percent (of the tax liability) surcharge, a 20-percent interest per annum, and a compromise penalty ranging from P200 to P1,000 for those who will fail to pay their income taxes or file their income tax returns on time.
Aspe said 25 to 30 percent of taxpayers pay their income tax liabilities on the April 15 deadline. There are about 18 million individual and corporate taxpayers registered with the BIR. However, individuals with tax liabilities may opt to pay them in two equal installments -- the first upon filing their income tax returns on April 15 and the second installment on or before July 15.
Aspe official said that historical records showed that the tax agency collects P12 billion to P15 billion in income taxes during the April 15 deadline.
"Let it be told that today's [April 15] last day of filing the ITRs [income tax returns] does not put an end to our tax collection campaign as we have eight more months to go to enforce our tax collection program and activities," Aspe said.
Income tax accounts for about 60 percent of the BIR's total collection.
For this year, the BIR is tasked to collect P845 billion in taxes, 10-percent higher than the P765.9 billion goal last year. The BIR failed to meet its target last year.
For this year, the BIR is directed to implement measures to shore up collection, such as intensified tax auditing, to help meet the national government's goal of posting a balanced budget after a decade of suffering from budget deficits.
The BIR is the biggest revenue earner among line agencies, covering for 76 percent of total national government expenditure program for this year.