April 15 tax deadline stays but BIR to allow ‘tentative’ returns in wake of COVID-19 | Inquirer Business
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April 15 tax deadline stays but BIR to allow ‘tentative’ returns in wake of COVID-19

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 09:53 PM March 16, 2020

While sticking with the April 15 deadline to file annual income tax returns (ITR) as mandated by law, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will allow the filing of tentative returns.

Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa on Monday (March 16) told the Inquirer that the guidelines will be released on the same day.

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But by Monday afternoon, Guballa said the guidelines for the 2019 ITR filing deadline will be “surely out” on Tuesday instead.

A BIR memo in July 2013 said “in a tentative return, the taxpayer implies the incompleteness or the non-finality of the data considered in arriving at the tax base and therefore, the correct tax due cannot possibly be computed.”

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“On the other hand, in affixing the signature, the taxpayer is also declaring that the return filed is made in good faith, is true and correct,” the memo said.

It added that the “filing of amended tax returns and finalization of its audited financial statements should be a priority by the taxpayer.”

Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said that in the meantime, affected sectors, including auditors who needed to go on field work despite community quarantine in Luzon, had to “continue serving their clients.”

As early as Sunday (March 15), Guballa said the BIR was already crafting guidelines to give some relief to taxpayers.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had maintained that the yearly April 15 deadline to file ITRs cannot be changed under the Tax Code or the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

But according to Dominguez, “we can allow amendment of returns without payment of interest, subject to certain conditions like no variance of more than 25 percent.”

“This will be in line with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) extension of deadline of filing of audited financial statements of 60 days,” Dominguez said.

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The BIR and the SEC were being supervised by the DOF.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran told the Inquirer last week that of the projected P91 billion in forgone revenues this year due to the economic fallout coming from the COVID-19 pandemic, P57 billion would be cut from the BIR’s tax take while P34 billion from the Bureau of Customs.

Slower business activity amid the COVID-19 outbreak was expected to reduce corporate income tax revenues.

In January, the BIR collected P194.9 billion in taxes, up 5.3 percent year-on-year but below the P229.4-billion goal.

For 2020, the country’s biggest revenue agency had been tasked with collecting P2.58 trillion.

Edited by TSB
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