BIR to push bid to hike tax compliance, combat tax evasion — Diokno

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THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will continue to strengthen efforts to combat tax evasion and strengthen tax compliance to continue achieving record levels of tax collection.

“The BIR has done extremely well in strengthening our country’s coffers by simplifying tax compliance through digitalization as well as combating tax evasion. I am confident that we will be able to reach or even exceed the collection targets set in the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) for this year and until 2028 through the Bureau’s initiatives,” according to Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Through its Run After Fake Transactions (RAFT) program, the BIR has identified and filed criminal cases against sellers and users of commercial invoices/receipts used to support fake transactions.

From January to September 2023, the BIR has filed cases on four ghost corporations with estimated tax liabilities of P25.5 billion and three Corporate Buyers and their Officers, Accounting Firms, and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) with total estimated tax liabilities of P17.9 billion.

The BIR achieved substantial tax collection levels in recent years due to its strict nationwide enforcement operations on the illicit trade of cigarettes, vape, and other excisable items through national raids and the filing of criminal cases against offenders.

Last January 2023, the BIR had its first nationwide raid of illicit cigarette traders, where revenue officers from all over the country participated in the simultaneous raid of establishments.

The BIR followed it up on July 2023 by targeting illicit cigarettes, including illegal activities related to vape and alcohol products.

To effectively combat tax evasion, the BIR’s Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) Program acts as a deterrent by penalizing tax evaders and generating public awareness in the filing of criminal tax cases.

The RATE program enhances voluntary compliance among taxpayers; promotes public confidence; and helps increase revenue collection.

A total of 246 RATE cases were filed by the BIR with the Department of Justice (DOJ) with estimated tax liabilities of P14.73 billion from July 2022 to October 2023.

Meanwhile, Oplan Kandado strengthens the BIR’s imposition of prescribed administrative sanctions through enforcement of at least one closure order issued or one taxpayer’s compliance and payment for every semester, according to the Revenue District Office (RDO).

From July 1, 2022 to October 13, 2023, the Bureau collected P496.57 million and issued closure orders to 272 business establishments nationwide under Oplan Kandado.

The Tax Compliance Verification Drive (TCVD), on the other hand, is among the measures that help the BIR increase the number of active registered business taxpayers.

As a result of TCVD, the BIR was able to visit a total of 89,139 establishments nationwide and collected P157.39 million from July 2022 to December 2022, while from January to August 2023, the BIR visited 128,562 establishments and collected P180.01 million.

To further increase tax compliance, the BIR’s Estate Tax Amnesty Program allows taxpayers to avail of Estate Tax Amnesty to maximize the collection of tax arrears and unfiled/unpaid estate tax.

From July 2022 to September 2023, the Bureau collected a total of P2.06 billion from 60,416 availers of the Estate Tax Amnesty Program.

Another important tool for improving tax compliance is digitalization. The BIR launched its Digital Transformation (DX) Program to make its services more modern, convenient, and accessible by turning the agency into a data-driven organization with a digitally empowered workforce using technology to enhance the taxpayer experience.

As a frontline agency, the BIR has also upgraded the quality of its services by increasing the number of International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-certified offices.

To date, 18 Revenue Regions (RRs) have earned certification under the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS).

Aside from intensifying tax compliance and combating tax evasion, the BIR said it has been working to broaden the tax base by increasing its registered business taxpayers by three percent.

For the period July to December 2022, the Bureau recorded a 2.9-percent increase in registered business taxpayers while a growth of 3.7 percent was posted from January to September 2023.

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