Finance Department oders PITC to remit unused public funds

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020   •   190

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) ordered the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) to remit all income from interests it generated from various government agencies so the fund may used for the government’s response against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and relief efforts to areas affected by the recent typhoons.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez wrote to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez who chairs the PITC Board to remit to the national treasury a total of P1.1 billion that the corporation collected from the years 2018 and 2019.

The said amount was the balance of the interest income from funds of various government agencies supposedly for equipment that has been noted as “parked” funds in the state-run corporation.

The DOF noted that in 2019, the PITC had a trust liabilities of P33-B while from the start of this year to October it had P32.6-B.

“Following our discussion, we would like to request the return to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) by PITC, the interest earned on such funds held in trust. From 2018 to 2019, the interest earned on such funds totaled P1.151 billion,” Sec. Dominguez confirmed.

Dominguez cited a Commission on Audit (COA) report which stresses that PITC’s non-remittance of the said fund to the National Treasury is a clear violation of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.

Prior to this, Dominguez also notified Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado through a letter of his order to PITC to return the P33-B to the national treasury.

Senator Franklin Drilon who raised the issue on the ‘parked’ unused public funds at PITC suggested the termination of the agency citing the problems it causes the government for concealing public funds. 

Also, Drilon said PITC seems to be a duplication of government function because the Budget Department also has an existing procurement service, not to mention each government agency’s Bids and Awards Committee that do similar work as PITC. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

PH, Japan reaffirm commitment to better economic ties

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the Philippines and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance economic partnership, which includes plans to expand Japanese investments in the country.

During a recent courtesy call on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, newly designated Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that Japanese companies are exploring ways of realigning their supply chains to other countries like the Philippines.

Koshikawa said the approval by the Senate of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill was welcomed by Japanese investors doing business in the Philippines.

The measure aims to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a net taxable income of P5 million and below to 20 percent, while other companies, including foreign firms, will pay a harmonized rate of 25 percent.

The current CIT, which is the region’s highest, is 30 percent.

Dominguez, for his part, said that aside from the CIT rate cut, CREATE will also allow the government to tailor fit incentives given to businesses so as to attract the kind of investors that it wants to invest in the Philippines.

The Finance chief also told the ambassador that the Philippines’ competitive edge in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) is its young working population, which complements Japan’s highly skilled labor force and makes the two countries ideal “demographic partners.”

During the meeting, Koshikawa also restated Japan’s continuing support for the Philippine government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, as well as its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Citing the signing in September between the two countries of the 50-billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan (PDSL) Phase 2, the Ambassador reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, 15 loan agreements totaling JPY679.296 billion (about P313.147 billion or US$6.443 billion) have been signed by Manila with Tokyo.

Before beginning his tour of duty in Manila, Ambassador Koshikawa was a senior official at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and had served as Japan’s Ambassador to Spain and Angola.

Deadlines on tax amnesty, voluntary assessment program extended to June 2021 – DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) announced it has extended anew the deadlines for availing of the Tax Amnesty on Delinquencies (TAD) and Voluntary Assessment and Payment Program (VAPP).

The DOF said it has issued Revenue Regulations (RR) Nos. 32-2020 and 33-2020 extending the respective deadlines until June 2021.

The original deadline for availing of the TAD was December 31, 2020, as stated under RR No. 15-2020.

“This revenue regulation was an amendment to RR Nos. 11-2020, 10-2020, and 7-2020, which were issued by the BIR to implement Republic Act (RA) No. 11213, or the Tax Amnesty Law,” the finance department said.

“The new regulations were issued under RA 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, which allowed the extension of statutory deadlines and timelines to ease the taxpayers’ burden under COVID-19-related mobility restrictions,” it added.

The RR No. 33-2020 likewise extends the deadline for availing of the VAPP.

Initiated by the DOF and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) under RR 21-2020, the VAPP lets taxpayers voluntarily settle their unpaid internal revenue tax, with or without an ongoing audit/investigation.

Those who will do so shall not be audited for 2018 for the tax types availed.

As of last month, the DOF said the BIR reported that it had collected more than P200 million from the program with just three months of implementation.

The majority of the applicants were small business taxpayers who wish to settle their 2018 tax liabilities.

“We are delighted that the VAPP has been helping our small and medium taxpayers settle their 2018 tax obligations while also generating additional revenue collection for the BIR. The same goes with the TAD program,” Undersecretary Antonette Tionko of the DOF Revenue Operations Group (ROG) said.

“By further extending the two programs, we hope to help more taxpayers settle their tax deficiencies amid the pandemic,” she added.

Both the TAD and the VAPP are extended until June 30, 2021.

The DOF also said that the RR No. 33-2020 ensures that the BIR correctly evaluates VAPP applications by requiring denials and invalidation to be supported by documents such as Discrepancy Notices and other third-party information documents.

Taxpayers whose VAPP applications are denied or whose VAPP entitlements are invalidated may likewise appeal to either the Assistant Commissioner for Large Taxpayer Service or the Regional Director, the DOF said.

Finance dept-attached agencies to require tax courses for hiring, promotion starting 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Training courses offered by the Philippine Tax Academy (PTA) will soon become a requirement in the hiring or promotion of employees in the bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR), of Customs (BOC), and Local Government Finance (BLGF) starting next year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said basic courses offered by the PTA will also become mandatory in the appointment of treasurers in local government units (LGU).

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said this requirement covers all existing employees of the BIR, BOC and BLGF before they can be promoted.

It also covers all applicants, whether contractual or permanent, before they can be hired in these bureaus, and all local treasurers before they can be appointed.

Beltran said passing these basic Tax Academy courses are mandatory under Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10143, which established the PTA, and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Section 4 of the PTA law states that: “All existing officials and personnel of the BIR, the BOC and the BLGF shall be required to undergo the re-tooling and enhancement seminars and training programs to be conducted by the PTA. All applicants to the said bureaus shall also be required to pass the basic courses before they can be hired whether on contractual or permanent status.”

Beltran said that even before the full implementation of this provision, these courses have been regularly inducted for new employees of DOF-attached agencies.

“These courses were migrated online during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that the Academy can continue to offer them even with community quarantine measures in place, said Beltran, who oversees the DOF’s implementation of the PTA law,” he said.

Under RA 10143, the PTA “shall serve as a learning institution for tax collectors and administrators of the government and selected applicants from the private sector.”

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