Philippines: Crackdown on major tax evaders intensifies

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) has expressed optimism that the government would catch another major tax evader this year amid strengthened coordination between the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said he hopes the closer coordination between the BIR and the BOC would continue to play a role in the capture of large-scale  tax evaders, especially after he had directed the two agencies to set up a joint task force against smuggling.

The BIR and the BOC are ironing out a plan to create a joint task force to help strengthen the government’s anti-smuggling campaign.

The plan was originally part of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena’s five-point priority program to reform the BOC.

To further strengthen the government’s campaign against smugglers and tax evaders, Dominguez said the BIR and BOC are implementing their own initiatives.

For one, he said the BOC, with the guidance of the DOF’s Revenue Operations Group, is fasttracking the completion of the implementing rules and regulations of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act this year.

Meanwhile, the BIR said it continues to carry out reforms in professionalizing the bureau.

It is spearheading this month the launch of the first Philippine Tax Academy, which will provide training programs on tax administration to government personnel.

The BIR is also planning to expand its tax payment channels to include more banks, mobile payment options and Bayad Centers.

Dominguez said the BIR needs to invest more in information technology to realize its goal of making tax payments simpler and more convenient for Filipinos.

In 2017, the BIR collected P1.779 trillion, 97 percent of its P1.829 trillion target for the whole year. The BOC, meanwhile, accomplished 97.8 percent of its P468 billion goal with total collections reaching P457.64 billion.

The DOF said this improvement, particularly for the BIR, was driven with the help of the government’s successful crackdown against Mighty Corp. last year.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2018/01/25/1780996/crackdown-major-tax-evaders-intensifies