The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is receiving a $400 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the modernization of its tax administration processes.
The digitalization program is a key component of the initiative and aims to improve online tax registration, return filing, and payment services.
BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui, Jr. expressed the agency's commitment to becoming service-oriented and thanked the ADB for its partnership.
The ADB aims to increase the ratio of actual tax revenues to tax potential from 75 percent in 2020 to at least 85 percent by 2026.
The loan is part of the Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) Program Subprogram 1 and focuses on addressing discrepancies in tax policy frameworks.
The reform efforts aim to enhance tax compliance, reduce tax avoidance, and generate more revenues from environmentally impactful activities or those contributing to climate change.
BIR to undertake $400-M digitalization drive
At a glance
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is set to undergo a significant modernization of its tax administration processes, courtesy of a $400 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The digitalization program, a focal point of this initiative, received praise in a press statement from ADB, emphasizing the transformational goals for key taxpayers' services such as online tax registration, return filing, and payment.
BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui, Jr. expressed the agency's commitment to becoming service-oriented and acknowledged the ADB as a valuable partner in the nation-building endeavor.
The ADB, dedicated to fostering economic growth and cooperation in Asia and the Far East, highlighted the potential impact of the loan, aiming to elevate the ratio of actual tax revenues to tax potential from 75 percent in 2020 to at least 85 percent by 2026.
Under the Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) Program Subprogram 1, the ABD's first policy-based loan dedicated to DRM reform aims to address the country’s need to tackle discrepancies in tax policy frameworks.
In particular, to boost tax compliance, reduce tax avoidance, and raise more revenues from activities and products that have a major impact on the environment or contribute to climate change.
“The program recognizes that DRM reforms necessitate not only raising revenue, but also designing a revenue system that fosters inclusiveness, encourages good governance, promotes investments and job creation, reduces inequality, and tackles climate change,” said ADB Senior Economist for Public Finance Aekapol Chongvilaivan.
“ADB supports the government’s DRM program, which will result in a higher tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and ensure sustainable financing for the country as it sets out to achieve its goals under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023‒2028," Chongvilaivan added,.
The Philippines wants to raise its tax ratio from 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 to at least 15.9 percent of GDP by 2026.
The DRM Program helped the government implement various international tax standards under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information to address international tax avoidance.
The Philippines this month joined the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework, committing to global tax standards and progressive tax reforms that will make the country more conducive to private sector development and foreign investment.
ADB has been engaging with the Philippines on DRM through policy dialogue, consulting services, and knowledge work.
It is supporting the government’s Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform to strengthen its property valuation functions and modernize real property taxation, which accounts for 30% of local government units’ own-source revenues. ADB also provided technical advice in the formulation of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program packages from 2016 onwards.