Field officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) appealed anew to lawmakers to pass a general tax amnesty law to support effectively the P4.5-trillion outlay of the national government this year.
Many revenue regional directors and district officers across the country said traditional sources of funds would not be sufficient to cover even half of the budget due to the unparalleled economic recession caused by COVID-19.
They estimated that only about 25 percent of commercial and service establishments nationwide would report earnings for 2020 while the rest would declare losses and pay little or no taxes at all.
The BIR traditionally supplies between 70 to 75 percent of the national budget.
They said taxpayers are not inspired to avail themselves of the current Voluntary Assessment and Payment Program (VAPP) as it does not grant them total immunity from investigation.
They said VAPP is just an administrative amnesty that grants “last priority” in audit.
This explains, they said, why only few are availing themselves of the program which have so far raised P200 million.
“What the taxpayers want is an assurance that they will no longer be investigated when they apply for an amnesty,” said one district officer who declined to be named.
They said the amnesty should include all tax types and covers the years 2018 and 2019.
Currently, there is a tax amnesty on delinquencies which covered returns filed in 2017 and prior years.
Ninety-five percent of 3,000 big companies under BIR’s Large Taxpayers Service availed themselves of the amnesty which helped the agency exceed its collection target, raising more than P1.4 trillion.