Pandemic speeds up automation of BIR, Customs | Inquirer Business
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Pandemic speeds up automation of BIR, Customs

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:06 AM January 26, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing lockdown restrictions have forced the country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies to speed up their digitization efforts, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In the case of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the DOF quoted Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay as saying that a bigger 86 percent or P1.67 trillion out of its P1.94-trillion tax take in 2020 were paid by taxpayers through electronic channels.

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In 2018 and 2019, 84 percent of tax payments were settled online or electronically.

Dulay added that since movement of people was limited amid COVID-19 quarantine, 94 percent or 21.5 million of the 22.86 million tax returns filed last year were submitted and paid online.

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BIR data also showed that more Filipinos turned to becoming their own bosses as the pandemic-induced recession shed jobs—Dulay said 4.37 million new businesses registered with the agency in 2020, up from the 4.11 million new business taxpayers recorded in 2019.

On Sunday, the DOF quoted Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as recently reporting to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that the agency not only fully automated its front-line transactions but also fully accomplished its risk management modernization goal last year.

“The BOC was able to reach its 100-percent accomplishment rate on fully automating its front-line services by allowing the online submission of documents through its customer care portal system, upgrading its electronic-to-mobile system to computerize manual processes, and accepting online payment options,” Guerrero said.

The BOC also completed its risk management improvement target in 2020 “by utilizing an electronic cargo targeting system, enhancing its cargo selectivity system and rolling out a new, user-friendly universal risk management system,” Guerrero added.

Moving forward, Guerrero said the BOC would be “undergoing process reengineering to improve the country’s Customs administration, reduce transaction costs and enhance predictability and transparency of the clearance process this year.” INQ

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TAGS: BIR, Business, customs, pandemic
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