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‘Commendable act’: DOF lauds firms that paid taxes early despite COVID-19 pandemic

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 02:48 PM May 25, 2020

The Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday (May 25) lauded the companies that did not wait for extended deadlines to pay their taxes, helping the government raise revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said companies that paid taxes on original deadlines or in advance exemplified “the bayanihan spirit.”

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These taxpayers, Dominguez said, “deserve recognition as their early income tax return payments have provided the Duterte administration the much needed funds” for social amelioration, emergency health measures and economic stimulus programs during the pandemic.

“We hope that the commendable act of these taxpayers would inspire other taxpayers to do the same and contribute to our nation-building as we work together to get the economy back on its feet in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dominguez said.

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On its website, the DOF listed the top 500 firms and institutions that paid their taxes ahead of the June 14 deadline, with BDO Unibank Inc. ranked No. 1, although the amount of taxes it paid was not disclosed.

Rounding up the top 10 were Robinsons Land Corp., Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Unilab Inc., Mercury Drug Corp., Maynilad Water Services Inc, Metrobank Card Corp., Globe Telecom Inc., and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

The Inquirer asked DOF and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials for the latest figures on how much was collected so far from early filers as well as how many in all—corporate and individual taxpayers—paid their dues besides the 500 private and state-run firms on the DOF list.

Assistant Finance Secretary Antonio Joselito G. Lambino, also DOF spokesperson, told Inquirer, however, that the Tax Code prohibits public disclosure of tax information.

DOF and BIR officials had called on taxpayers to no longer wait for the extended deadlines and settle their dues as soon as possible.

Last Friday (May 21) the BIR published Revenue Regulations (RR) 12-2020 signed by Dominguez and Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, which effectively ruled out any more tax deadline extensions after June 14 “regardless of any extension or modification of quarantine.”

Since June 14 fell on a Sunday, the actual cut-off date shall be June 15, Monday, under the new order.

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Under the Tax Code, the mandatory deadline for filing and payments of the previous year’s ITR was every April 15, but given physical distancing restrictions amid the initial one-month enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country since mid-March, the BIR had moved it to May 15.

The BIR again pushed back the deadline to May 30 when the ECQ was first extended to April 30, and then to the latest June 14 cut-off date when the quarantine was prolonged until May 15.

Despite the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in place since May 16, the BIR and the DOF no longer extended the due date because “the government needs funds.”

RR 11-2020 had also moved to June 22 the final day for tax amnesty applications from the original April 23 deadline and the two previous extensions to May 23 and June 8 following the longer ECQ periods.

Aside from the ITR and tax amnesty deadlines, RR 11-2020 had adjusted cut-off dates for 48 other transactions and documents, including value-added tax (VAT) refunds, and tax credit or refund applications, among others.

Amid a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) this month further slashed the government’s 2020 tax and non-tax revenue collection goal to P2.61 trillion from the projection of P3.17 trillion in March.

The DOF last week reported that the BIR’s collections last April amounted to only P71.78 billion, a 69.8-percent drop from P237.93 billion in 2019.

From January to April, the BIR’s tax take slid 25.4 percent year-on-year to P527.41 billion.The BIR is the country’s biggest tax-collection agency, contributing almost four-fifths of total revenue.

In the past, BIR collections peaked in April as the Tax Code mandated the deadline of filing and payment of the previous year’s ITRs on or before April 15.

Edited by TSB

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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