Nearly all taxpayers file ITRs online

Published June 3, 2021, 3:46 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

As the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ramps up digitalization initiatives, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported that nearly all income tax returns (ITRs) were filed online during the last tax filing season.

In a statement released by the DOF on Thursday, June 3, it cited a BIR report stating that about 1.43 million or nearly 100 percent of the total number of the annual ITRs for 2020 were filed online this year

The BIR reported to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III that from January 1 to the April 15 deadline for the filing of the 2020 AITRs this year, only 7,139 were filed manually.

A total of 99.5 percent of the ITRs were done online through the agency’s electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) and electronic BIR Forms (eBIRForms) System.

Dominguez commended the BIR for ensuring the smooth and glitch-free electronic filing and payment of ITRs this year, which encouraged more taxpayers to fulfill their civic duty of paying taxes even amid the mobility restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, Dominguez had pressed the BIR and Bureau of Customs to fast-track their digital switch as a way to boost online transactions and improve the ease of doing business in the country’s top two revenue-generation agencies.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said the 99.5 percent of e-filed ITRs this year represents a 1,465-percent increase from the mere 10 percent in 2015.

When the Duterte administration took office, the number of e-filed returns steadily increased to 672,820 or 51.84 percent of the total ITRs filed in 2017, and 878,908 or 58.25 percent in 2018.

The number of e-filed ITRs rose sharply to 1.28 million or 80.4 percent of the total filing in 2019, and to 1.31 million or 90 percent in 2020, Guballa said in his report.

“We are starting to reap the benefits of our continued digitalization efforts that aim to make tax compliance easier, more accessible, and more convenient for the public,” Guballa said.

As for electronic tax payments, Guballa said that in 2020, the revenue collections of the BIR through electronic channels accounted for P1.66 trillion or 85 percent of its total collection.

This year, preliminary data showed that BIR collections through e-channels amounted to P573 billion, representing 83 percent of the total collection of P689 billion as of April 30.