New BIR chief to collect more taxes via online platforms

Incoming Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Assistant Governor Lilia C. Guillermo said that as an IT expert, she will pursue an expanded digitized tax collection for transparency and more efficiency.

“As a former Deputy Commissioner of the BIR and IT practitioner, I am committed to strengthening tax administration through digitalization. This will make the tax collection system more efficient and less prone to graft and corruption,” said Guillermo on Friday, June 24.

BSP Assistant Governor Lilia Guillermo, incoming BIR chief

Guillermo was recruited by outgoing BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno to the BSP when he was appointed fifth governor of the central bank in 2019. Both were from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Diokno was the secretary before moving to the BSP.

Under the Marcos administration, Diokno is Department of Finance-bound as its new secretary. Guillermo will again follow Diokno to the DOF. The BIR is an attached agency of the DOF.

Guillermo was in the news of late after declaring that at least under her watch as tax chief, she will collect the Marcos clan’s tax liabilities worth P203 billion. She will collect in compliance with the Supreme Court decision to go after the unpaid taxes, but she has to review the documents first and assess how much is actually collectible estate taxes.

On Friday, Guillermo reiterated that she is “honored to have been entrusted by President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with the task of further digitalizing the country’s tax collection system” as BIR chief.

“It is my honor to accept the post as head of the BIR. I am thankful for the trust placed in me by the President-elect,” she said.

Guillermo, who was recognized as “one of the most powerful women in IT in the Philippines” in 2013, has a “wealth of experience” in the IT field as the managing director of the BSP’s Technology and Digital Innovation Office.

She was on top of implementing the central bank’s IT Modernization Roadmap since 2018 and supposedly until 2023. She also led the BSP’s digital transformation objectives of shifting at least 50 percent of all retail transactions into digital form by next year. As of end-2020, 20.1 percent of payment transactions are now digital.

When Guillermo was in the DBM as undersecretary, she headed the budget sector’s modernization projects, and developed systems to upgrade the Public Financial Management Program.

Before DBM, the next tax chief worked for the BIR as a deputy commissioner for almost 40 years. She acted as the Project Director of the World Bank-assisted Tax Computerization Project.

Guillermo studied at the University of the Philippines where she earned both her Master’s in Industrial Engineering in 1981 and Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics in 1977.