By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) is confident that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would get a higher collection attainment rate this year due to tax administration reforms being undertaken by the government.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that while the 96 percent collection attainment rate of the BIR in 2018 could be considered as good enough, he is still expecting an improvement coming from the government’s main tax agency this year.
“The BIR attained 96 percent of the goal we set for ourselves. Some people are criticizing us that we didn’t meet 100 percent or didn’t exceed it. But I think in any class, if you hit 96 percent (that’s still good),” Dominguez said last Friday at the kickoff of the BIR’s awareness drive.
“Through 2018, the BIR’s collection reached P1.96 trillion or 10.15 percent higher than the 2017 collections. This year, even if the goals are set higher, I am confident the bureau will achieve a higher attainment rate,” he added.
Dominguez expressed confidence that the array of tax administration reforms being undertaken by the BIR would let it achieve an even better attainment rate this year and onwards.
The bureau’s improving collections, Dominguez said, are the result of several administrative reforms that it is “relentlessly pursuing.” Among them, the expansion of available electronic payment options for taxpayers, and Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) campaign. The Oplan Kandado campaign, in the meantime, allows the BIR to suspend or shut down businesses for non-tax compliance.
Another reform is broadening the tax base, which increased the number of active registered business taxpayers by 10.55 percent last year.
Dominguez said that the best way to further improve the agency’s performance and collect the right amount of taxes is the voluntary compliance of the country’s taxpayers.
“This is the reason we launch this tax awareness campaign every year. We expect taxpayers to pay their taxes promptly and properly in the same way that they expect us to spend every peso that the bureau collects in investments that would help make growth truly inclusive for every Filipino,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez told the BIR’s rank-and-file that Filipino taxpayers have “entrusted in us not only their hard-earned money, but their hopes for a better and more vibrant economy.”
The National Tax Campaign Kickoff was led by Dominguez and BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay. Leading members of the business community were also at the event, among them, Ramon Ang, president and CEO of San Miguel Corp., and Michael Tan, president and CEO of the LT Group Inc.
Dominguez said this BIR campaign “is about building a strong partnership with our taxpayers.”
“Ours is a shared responsibility for building a society that will thrive in a competitive world,” the Finance chief said. “We, whose responsibility is to produce the revenue stream to fund the government’s massive infrastructure program and investments in human capital development, play a key role in our people’s economic success. I urge you to sustain the effort at completely modernizing tax administration in this country. I trust we will deliver, and we will deliver well.”
In demonstrating its resolve to run after tax cheats, Dominguez recalled that the BIR, along with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), was able to bust the “biggest fish” by cracking down on Mighty Corp. in 2017. The BIR-BOC joint drive resulted in the largest tax settlement in the country’s tax history and forced the company out of the cigarette business.
Today, the BIR continues to heighten its vigilance against illicit trade and manufacturing by forming a Strike Team to accomplish this mission, he said.
This team has so far confiscated several unregistered cigarette-making machines and various brands of fake and untaxed tobacco products from illegally operating factories in Pampanga, Pangasinan and Bulacan, which were later destroyed to send the message that tax evaders and illicit cigarette manufacturing will not be tolerated by this administration.
Dominguez said the BIR has also been “effectively implementing” a Centralized Arrears Management system, which provides re-engineered processes for managing both accounts receivable and delinquent accounts to help boost the agency’s performance in its regional offices.