BIR narrowly misses target but looks at glass as half full
Despite revenue collection that fell below target in the first half of 2019, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would look at the glass as half full, confident of achieving collection targets at the end of 2019 and even in 2020 as a result of efforts to digitize.
At the BIR’s 115th anniversary celebration on Thursday (Aug. 1) Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III lauded the government’s biggest tax-collection agency for its “good work.”
Because the BIR delivered, Dominguez said the government was able “to make critical investments in improving the health and education of our people and in the quality of our infrastructure.”
“It is true that the BIR has been one of the most vulnerable public agencies,” Dominguez said.
“This is due to the wide margins of discretions and badly designed tax policies that weaken fidelity to the service,” he said.
In the last three years, however, “we have worked very hard to improve the design of our tax policies as well as reengineer our tax administration,” Dominguez said.
As the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program took shape with several packages already in place, Dominguez said these reforms “have brought vast improvements in the agency’s performance.”
But Dominguez said the BIR’s collection during the first six months amounted P1.073 trillion, 5-percent short of the P1.127-trillion target.
Dominguez nonetheless said the BIR’s first-half tax take was already “very commendable.”
The Finance chief later told reporters that since first-quarter economic growth “was a little short of our target, the BIR’s collections are also expected to be short.”
“But given the conditions that occurred, they actually did quite well,” Dominguez said, adding that he believed both the economy and the BIR’s take will recover soon.
The BIR had been tasked with collecting taxes amounting to P2.3 trillion in 2019 and P2.6 trillion in 2020.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said the BIR will shore up collections alongside sustained economic growth.
“We’ll work hard. We can easily catch up,” he said in Filipino.
Dominguez said going digital will not only help the BIR hit its revenue targets but also improve front-line services.
Going digital, he said, “will result in world-class tax administration and provide us more resources for investments on behalf of the Filipino people.”
“The more efficient BIR becomes, the more effective government will be in achieving its goals,” Dominguez said./tsb
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