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BIR collects 86% of taxes online in 2020

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said it collected P1.67 trillion worth of taxes through electronic payment channels last year, or 86% of the P1.94 trillion total, after the pandemic shut down many face-to-face online payment channels.

Around 21.5 million or 94% of the 22.86 million tax returns filed last year were submitted online, according to the Department of Finance (DoF), citing preliminary data from BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay.

Only 6% or 1.38 million tax returns were filed manually in 2020, with taxpayers also restricted in their mobility by the quarantine.

Taxes collected from the PayMaya mobile application, the latest addition to the BIR’s pool of electronic payment channels, amounted to P4.98 billion.

The DoF said the BIR’s collections overall were down 11.23% from the P2.19 trillion in 2019, but exceeded the P1.6-trillion target for 2020 by 15%.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) reduced its projection for government revenue last year as tax collections slumped due to weak consumption and business closures during the pandemic.

Other accredited electronic payment platforms of the BIR were the Gcash e-wallet app, the Land Bank of the Philippines e-payment portal Linkbiz, the PayTax service of the Development Bank of the Philippines, the UnionBank Online app and PESONet.

It launched in April pilot operations for its web-based Internal Revenue Integrated System, which will centralize the processing of taxpayer information. The system is targeted for full launch by the end of 2021, according to the bureau.

It also opened the Electronic Audited Financial System, under which businesses can submit their financial statements to the agency digitally. An e-appointment facility was set up in October for taxpayers to raise concerns online. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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