Many business operators and individual taxpayers nationwide are asking President Duterte to extend the April 15 deadline of the filing of 2020 income tax returns (ITRs) amid the continued surge of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
They made the appeal to Malacañang even as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) stood firm on the original deadline.
Most of the requests came from taxpayers based in Metro Manila and the nearby four provinces which were placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) last March 29 due to the resurgence of the virus.
They said the ITR filing deadline should be extended until such time that the virus has been curbed, or at least when a substantial number of the population has been inoculated from the illness.
Some taxpayers based in Quezon City have expressed fears of catching the virus should they go out to get tax documents and join crowds filing their returns at BIR field offices and pay taxes in banks.
They also claimed that they don’t know how to use the bureau’s electronic platforms in filing returns and paying taxes.
They further noted that ITR filing was extended twice last year when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the country.
According to taxpayers, the COVID situation during the past several weeks has worsened as evidence by the increasing number of deaths and individuals catching the disease.
They said the BIR, like other government offices, is aware of how the illness surge has reduced its daily workforce, requiring officials and employes nationwide to report three times a week to contain the spread of the virus.
The Department of Finance (DOF) has instructed the BIR to continue its tax collection job despite the covid situation in order to help the crippled economy recover from the pandemic.
The BIR is targeting to raise P2.08 trillion this year, or seven percent higher than the actual take of P1.94 trillion last year.