The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has exceeded its tax collection target for 2020 despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said the taxman collected a total of P1.94 trillion last year, surpassing its goal of P1.69 trillion by P255.19 billion.
The BIR exceeded its target by 15.14% in January to December 2020 — the highest percentage ever recorded in the bureau’s history for the past two decades.
“It’s the first time that BIR went above its goal by 15%. The last time the BIR hit its goal was in 2001 and 2003, that was 17 years ago,” Dulay said.
The BIR chief said collection performance was made possible through the strict implementation of Taxpayer Account Management Program, monitoring of withholding tax remittances, and continued tax awareness activities, which revenue offices nationwide have been able to sustain even during the most restricted quarantine period through the use of phones, emails, virtual meetings, and other electronic platforms.
Other tax enforcement initiatives that significantly contributed to the BIR’s overall collections are the issuance of Warrants of Distraint and Levy, and Warrants of Garnishments, and implementation of compromise settlement that caused the collection of accounts receivable/delinquent accounts totaling to P998.96 million, according to the taxman.
Meanwhile, vigorous implementation of the Run After Tax Evaders Program and Oplan Kandado Program resulted in filing of 157 cases with the Department of Justice with aggregate tax liabilities of P7.447 billion, filing of 24 cases at the Court of Tax Appeals with total estimated liabilities of P753.75 million; and closure of 209 establishments nationwide, and collection of P607.87 million.
“The Run After Tax Evaders Program has been proven effective because the taxpayers feel that there is no “let-up” in filing cases against them [erring taxpayers]. Through Oplan Kandado, we were able to collect about P607 million,” Dulay said.
“That’s why we get a lot of complaints from taxpayers also about these programs. But we advised our people to just be polite and respectful but firm when they implement this Oplan Kandado,” he added.
On the other hand, BIR collections from the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) continued to increase from P2.36 billion in 2018 to P7.18 billion in 2020.
The taxman was also able to seize 55 units of cigarette-making machines; 4,890,124 packs of assorted cigarette products, and 22,389,022 counterfeit tax stamps valued at P1.228 billion.
As the pandemic forced many to stay in their homes, the BIR eased tax compliance through electronic filing and settlement.
From January to December 2020, the BIR said 21,481,994 returns were filed through its Electronic Filing and Payment (eFPS) and Electronic BIR Forms (eBIRForms).
The said figure represents 94% of the total returns filed in 2020, the highest percentage to date, according to the BIR.
Particularly, a total of P1.665 trillion or 86% of the total BIR tax collections were collected through electronic payment channels, and P4.98 Billion of this amount were collected from the additional online payment channels.
The online payment channels are GCash, Development Bank of the Philippines debit and credit card, Land Bank of the Philippines Online, PesoNet, Unionbank, and Paymaya.
“We will continue to improve on that and hopefully we will achieve a 100% eFiling figure,” Dulay said.
The other initiatives that contributed to the 2020 collection performance include the Tax Amnesty Program which yielded collection of tax delinquencies and estate taxes totaling to P5.63 billion; expansion of ISO Certification for Business Registration Process; 30% increase in personnel strength from 9,549 in 2016 to 12,449 in 2020; updating of zonal value schedule by 94 Revenue District Offices; broadening of the tax base to 4,368,036 business taxpayers registered as of November 2020, a 6.15% increase from the previous year. -MDM, GMA News