BIR’s H1 tax take falls short of goal
Despite below-target collections in the first half, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is optimistic it will achieve its collection targets this year and in 2020 on the back of the agency’s efforts toward digitalization.
During the BIR’s 115th anniversary celebrations on Thursday afternoon, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III lauded the country’s biggest tax-collection agency as its “good work contributes to our ability 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. This is due to the wide margins of discretion and badly designed tax policies that weaken fidelity to the service. [But] over the last three years, 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.”
However, he said the BIR’s collections in the first six months had hit P1.073 trillion, 5-percent short of the P1.127-trillion target for the six-month period. This was higher than year-ago collections of P964.5 billion.
Dominguez nonetheless said the BIR’s first-half tax take was already “very commendable.”
He 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.”
“Given the conditions that occurred, they actually did quite well,” Dominguez said, adding that he believed both the economy and the BIR’s take would recover moving forward.
The BIR had been tasked to collect taxes amounting P2.3 trillion this year and P2.6 trillion next year.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said the BIR would shore up collections alongside sustained economic growth.
“Kakayod kami. Kayang-kaya habulin ’yun (We will work harder. We sure can catch up),” Dulay said.
Dominguez said digitalization would not only help the BIR achieve its revenue targets but also improve front-line services.
“The BIR’s digital transformation will translate to more convenient, reliable and transparent services to our taxpayers. It 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,” he said.
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