More taxpayers settled dues online amid pandemic
More taxpayers settled their dues online amid COVID-19 quarantine controls that imposed social distancing while also opening up more digital payment channels, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko told members of Makati Business Club during a webinar last Wednesday that from January to August, taxpayers filed 15.03 million returns through the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) electronic channels—the electronic filing and payment system as well as eBIR forms system.
In June alone—during which the government finally collected the 2019 taxes due last April after two months of delay due to the COVID-19 lockdown, 3.31 million returns were filed electronically, the highest monthly figure to date.
As such, 86 percent or P1.12 trillion out of the P1.31 trillion in taxes collected by the BIR during the first eight months was settled through electronic payments, Tionko said.
The share of e-payments to cumulative end-August collections exceeded the 84 percent in 2018 and 2019, DOF data showed.
Tionko said the additional e-payment modes such as GCash, PayMaya and PesoNet, on top of online facilities made available by the state-run lenders Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines as well as UnionBank of the Philippines, collected P2.92 billion worth of taxes across 684,159 transactions as of August, already surpassing the 2019 total of P1.22 billion in taxes across 449,849 transactions.
“The operations of the BIR show that Filipinos fully welcome the idea of paying taxes digitally, because in terms of number of transactions, it’s quite a very big improvement,” Tionko said.
The BIR is pursuing its 2030 digital transformation road map to further improve its services to taxpayers.
Moving forward, Tionko said the government was working to reduce the cost of online transactions, in particular by removing the special foreign currency deposit unit tax regime, as well as bringing down the documentary tax stamp rate imposed on domestic bank-to-bank transactions and inward remittances, under the pending fourth tax reform package dubbed the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act.
Tionko added that the government wanted to implement e-invoicing—to be patterned after the e-receipt practices in South Korea, which was providing financial and technical assistance to the Philippines for this initiative—next year.
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