Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Department of Finance (DOF) to extend the deadline for the filing and payment of annual income tax return (ITR) for 2020.
Binay made the call following the BIR’s refusal to extend the deadline for the filing of ITRs beyond April 15 due to the government’s need to reach its revenue targets to fund its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senator said she doesn’t see any reason why the government could not afford to extend the deadline even if it is only in the National Capital Region (NCR), plus in Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal, where the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was reimposed.
“We already extended [the deadline] last year because of the ECQ. We are in a same situation a year later, that’s why I don’t understand why they would refuse,” Binay said in a statement.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa, however, assured that while there would be no extension, taxpayers would be allowed to amend their filings until May 15 without any penalties.
But Binay said individual taxpayers and even micro and small businesses would find it difficult to comply due to restrictions on movement.
“So for them, the no-penalty amendments would have no bearing because filing the ITR themselves would already be difficult to comply with,” she said.
Even corporate taxpayers, she said, would be pressed for time in adjusting their payments to the lower rates provided as relief under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law.
President Duterte had signed the measure into law just last March 26 and the BIR only released the law’s draft implementing rules and regulations on Tuesday.
While it is understandable that the government has revenue targets to achieve, the lawmaker said the people should not be made to pay the price for its mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides, she said, a deadline extension does not mean non-payment, and that those who are able to will file and pay.
“The appeal is for the government not to penalize those who are unable to comply because of the difficulties presented by the lockdown,” Binay pointed out.
“It’s not the people’s fault why our situation worsened. So why are we passing the buck if they aren’t responsible for the mismanagement of this crisis?” she added.