BIR suspends tax deficiency audit, collection for 60 days
Due to two weeks of the most stringent quarantine restrictions recently imposed in Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has extended by two months the scheduled audit of delinquent taxpayers and collection of their deficiencies. In Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 52-2021 dated April 14, Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 in National Capital Region (NCR) Plus had restricted revenue personnel from serving or delivering assessment notices, warrants of distraint and/of levy, as well as warrants of garnishments to collect deficiency taxes.
NCR Plus also covers the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
Dulay said the Tax Code had provided that during periods when the BIR were not able to assess and collect deficiencies, the running of statute of limitations could be suspended for a 60-day period.
Statute of limitations
According to tax consultancy firm KPMG, the statute of limitations referred to “the period during which the BIR can assess and collect taxes.”
“Under the Tax Code, the BIR has three years to conduct an assessment reckoned from the last day prescribed by law for the filing of the return or from the day the return was filed, whichever is later. In case of a false or fraudulent return with intent to evade tax or of failure to file a return, the prescriptive period is extended to 10 years counted from the time the falsity, fraud or omission is discovered. For the collection of taxes, Section 222 of the Tax Code generally provides for a five-year prescriptive period,” KPMG explained.
As a result of the ECQ, Dulay said taxpayers being investigated in areas covered by the strictest quarantine level had been given the 60-day leeway before they would be served with pending assessment notices and warrants for the BIR to ultimately collect their deficiencies.
After the two-month period, the BIR will resume its assessment and enforcement activities against delinquent taxpayers, including bringing them to court.
As for 2020 personal and corporate income tax returns, the BIR did not give any extension to file and pay beyond the mandatory April 15 deadline, although the country’s biggest revenue agency allowed amending returns until May 15.
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