Philippines: BIR targets P2.4 trillion collections this year

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) looks to strengthen its campaign against tax evaders and collection of new taxes to meet its goal of raising more than P2.4 trillion for the government this year.

In a report, the BIR said preliminary figures show the agency reached its target of collecting P2.08 trillion in 2021, beating by about seven percent the 2020 total of P1.95 trillion.

For this year, the BIR plans to increase its collection by over 17 percent, or around P357 billion, to P2.44 trillion as part of efforts to boost state revenues and reduce debt accumulation.

To achieve this objective, the BIR will tighten its tax enforcement activities like the Run After Tax Evaders program. Further, the agency will strengthen its business shutdown effort under Oplan Kandado to compel business owners to comply with registration and tax requirements.

The BIR recovered P1.86 billion in back taxes by padlocking 322 business establishments from January to September 2021. Oplan Kandado authorizes internal revenue agents to suspend the operations of enterprises found violating the tax code and related laws.

The BIR also committed to enhance the efficiency of its special programs, such as the voluntary assessment and payment program and the tax amnesty on delinquencies and estate tax.

The country’s largest revenue agency also vowed to monitor the movement of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) placed last year under a new regime taxing their activities.

Based on data, the BIR collected P1.22 billion in taxes from POGOs during the fourth quarter of 2021, with the bulk originating from taxes withheld from foreign workers at P709.38 million.

Last year, President Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11590 imposing a five percent gaming tax on POGO licensees, as well as a 25 percent withholding tax on their foreign workers.

According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the government can generate more than P76 billion in 2022 and 2023 through RA 11590.

The BIR will also expand its digital platforms to accommodate the growing use of online channels during the pandemic. In 2021, the agency said almost all of the income tax returns filed were coursed through electronic means.

The government wants to widen its revenue collection by nearly nine percent to P3.3 trillion this year, from an outlook of P3.03 trillion in 2021.