BIR eyes 24/7 online taxpayer services
MANILA, Philippines – Tax authorities are bracing for the possibility that all Filipino taxpayers would file and settle their dues online as COVID-19 restrictions on movement of people had fast-tracked digitization.
“In 2020, 85 percent or P1.66 trillion of the total collections of the [Bureau of Internal Revenue] were coursed through electronic channels…Meanwhile, almost a hundred percent of the tax returns filed last year were done online,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III noted Tuesday during the signing ceremony for the United States Trade and Development Agency’s (USTDA) $809,450 (about P38.85-million) grant to the BIR.
The agreement for the financial assistance extended to the BIR’s information and communications technology (ICT) modernization strategy and data center project was signed by Dominguez on behalf of the Philippine government alongside US Embassy in Manila chargé d’ affaires John Law.
Dominguez said online tax filing and payments were “projected to dramatically increase in the coming years as the BIR accelerates its digital transformation.”
The Finance chief was referring to the BIR’s ongoing digital transformation program, under which the country’s biggest tax-collection agency aimed to shift from “tedious” manual processes into fully digitized and digitalized services by 2030, it said on its website.
In 2022-2023, the BIR plans to provide taxpayers 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week access to its services via online systems and mobile applications.
Asked if 100-percent digital tax compliance was achievable and when, Dominguez replied: “We’re close to 100 percent, but there will still be people and companies who will still want to file returns the traditional way.”
For Dominguez, “now more than ever, we need more revenues to fund not only our COVID-19 response, but also our economic recovery program.”
“A highly efficient revenue collection system, therefore, is critical to help us recover strongly from this pandemic and build back the best possible future for our people. Our aim is not merely to have a state-of-the-art system in our data management. We seek to be at the cutting edge in the application of new technologies to achieve the best revenue performance,” Dominguez said.
The BIR targets to collect P2.08 trillion this year, up from P1.94 trillion last year.
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