BIR reminds Filipinos anew to file income tax returns before April 15 deadline

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2019   •   1627

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has reminded Filipinos to file their income tax returns (ITR) before the deadline in April.

The BIR said there will be no extension of the April 15 deadline for the annual filing of ITRs.

The agency also clarified that the deadline of the ITR filing will not be changed, dispelling wrong notions related to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“Hindi na-move ang deadline kasi apparently may mga nagsasabi because of TRAIN law, na-move ang deadline ng individual filing, ITR ng May 15. Hindi po, paunawa, yung buong taon ng 2019, annual return, due siya on or before April 15, 2020,” BIR deputy commissioner Marissa Cabreros said.

The process of ITR filing is now easier as taxpayers only have to fill out two to four pages of BIR forms. Taxpayers also can now pay their dues and submit tax returns online through the electronic filing and payment system and other online channels.

Cabreros also advised self-employed and professionals to file their income tax returns as early as January to avoid hassles and last-minute deadline glitches.

Taxpayers who will fail to file their 2019 tax returns on time will be charged with a 25 percent surcharge and a 12 percent interest per annum. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

DOF, BIR to allow taxpayers to settle 2018 tax deficiencies sans audit

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Taxpayers who have yet to pay their liabilities will now be able to settle them without an audit, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Monday.

In a statement, the DOF said it has issued Revenue Regulations No. 21-2020 for the implementation of the Voluntary Assessment and Payment Program (VAPP) for the taxable year 2018.

“The VAPP allows taxpayers to voluntarily pay their unpaid internal revenue tax liabilities–with or without an ongoing audit of or investigation into their finances– and those who do so will no longer be audited or investigated for 2018 for the tax types availed,” it said.

The finance department said the VAAP program covers all internal revenue taxes due for the taxable year ending December 31, 2018, and for fiscal year 2018 ending on the last day of July 2018 to June 2019.

It likewise covers one-time transactions (ONETT) such as the payment of estate taxes, donor’s taxes and capital gains taxes (CGT), as well as ONETT-related creditable withholding taxes (CWT) or expanded withholding taxes and documentary stamp taxes (DST), it added.

The DOF, however, said that taxpayers who wish to avail of the VAPP must generally pay the higher of a certain percentage of 2018 gross sales or 2018 taxable net income, based on the increase or decrease in total taxes paid from taxable years 2017 to 2018, subject to minimum amounts based on subscribed capital.

The department expressed hope that the program will increase its tax collections while providing taxpayers an easy and affordable way to settle their unpaid tax deficiencies.

The program will run until December 31, 2020, the DOF said.

Deadline for online sellers to register business extended to August 31 – BIR

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) announced it has extended the deadline for business registration of online sellers or those earning income by selling and transacting through digital and other electronic platforms.

In a Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 75-2020 issued on Wednesday, the BIR said the July 31 deadline stated in the previously issued RMC 60-2020 “for registration of the business activity and/or updates with no penalty imposition is hereby extended to August 31.”

“In addition, those who shall voluntarily declare their past transactions subject to pertinent taxes and pay the taxes due thereon when declared and paid on or before the said date shall not be subject to the corresponding penalty for late filing and payment,” the circular read.

The bureau, through RMC 60-2020 dated June 1, notified all persons doing business and earning income in any manner or form, specifically those who are into digital transactions through the use of any electronic platforms and media, and other digital means, to ensure that their businesses are registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 236 of the Tax Code, as amended, and that they are tax compliant.

The order covers partner sellers/merchants, payment gateways, delivery channels, internet service providers and other facilitators.

The BIR warned those who will be found later doing business without complying with the registration/update requirements, and those who failed to declare past due taxes/unpaid taxes “shall be imposed with the applicable penalties under the law, and existing revenue rules and regulations.”

The bureau earlier clarified that the measure is not meant to squeeze out money from online sellers but merely encourage them to register their business.

Resolution urging BIR to suspend tax memo on online sellers filed at Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   June 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said she has filed a resolution seeking for the suspension of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) memo that mandates online sellers to register and pay taxes amid struggles of finding alternative means to earn money during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Hontiveros said she recently filed Senate Resolution No. 453 which urges the BIR to suspend the memo’s implementation “until the end of the year.”

The resolution also sought for a Senate investigation into the agency’s efforts to subject online sellers to taxation and registration requirements, which was criticized by many for being “ill-timed and insensitive.”

“Kung hahabulin ng pamahalaan ang malalaking digital entrepreneurs, dapat siguraduhing hindi nito pahihirapan ang maliliit na online seller na dumidiskarte ngayon para kumita. Our revenue policies should be sensitive to the struggles of Filipinos trying to make ends meet in these difficult times,” Hontiveros said.

Malacañang earlier clarified that not all online sellers will need to pay taxes but should still register their business and update their tax records. The Palace also stressed that those earning less than P250,000 annually are tax exempt, referring to a provision of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law which states that only income above P250,000 is subject to taxes.

The Department of Trade and Industry also backed BIR’s move, saying the registration requirement only aims to build a registry of online sellers.

While Hontiveros noted Malacañang’s clarification, she said the registration requirement may still cost online sellers thousands of pesos in fees.

“It is best for everybody’s interests if the BIR suspends the implementation of the memo until December 31, 2020, while government agencies review and craft better policy guidelines on how online entrepreneurs should register or pay taxes,” she said.

The senator also pushed for a digital platform for BIR registration instead of requiring applicants to physically troop to its offices.

“Magkaroon muna ng digital platform for registration. Requiring people to congregate at the BIR’s offices likewise exposes them to the health risks associated with COVID-19 and might also lead to further spreading the disease and prolonging the pandemic,” she said.

She also reiterated her earlier call for the government to prioritize the collection of tax duties of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) rather than individuals who are making temporarily living via social media channels to weather the economic effects of the pandemic.

“It is only proper for the BIR to ensure that big digital businesses earning millions in profits – such as Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGOs) – are paying proper taxes as required by law. Pero sana, huwag na pahirapan ang mga kababayan nating dumidiskarte para makakain,” Hontiveros said.

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