BIR collections overshoot target despite pandemic

·2 min read

DIGITALIZATION efforts as well as an intensified campaign against delinquent taxpayers and tax dodgers have enabled the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to collect P1.94 trillion, surpassing its revised target for 2020.

Of the total, P1.67 trillion or 86 percent were collected through electronic payment channels.

Of the P1.67 trillion collected through e-channels last year, P4.98 billion were from the additional digital system PayMaya.

BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said the P1.94 trillion collected by the BIR in 2020 was about 11.23 percent less than the actual collection of P2.19 trillion in 2019 based on preliminary data as of Jan. 8, 2021.

But it was 15.14 percent over the revised 2020 goal of P1.68 trillion, Dulay said.

He also said 21.5 million or 94 percent of the 22.86 million tax returns filed in 2020 were done online, while only 1.38 million or 6.0 percent were filed manually, given the mobility restrictions imposed by the government since March 2020 to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

He also said 4.37 million new business taxpayers registered with the BIR in 2020, representing a 6.15 percent increase from the previous year’s number of 4.11 million.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the decrease in BIR collections in 2020 compared to the previous year was understandable, considering the adverse economic impact of the pandemic and the contraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) by about 10 percent that year.

“Congratulations, Billy (Dulay). This coming year, I think, will be continuously challenging, but I’m very happy the way BIR has responded to this crisis and had not given up,” Dominguez said, following Dulay’s report on the BIR’s 2020 performance.

“Basically, your collections went down almost exactly as the GDP contracted, around 10 percent. That’s about right. In other words, you haven’t let up on the pressure. The performance relative to 2019 is still the same even if the collections are lower. It was lower because the GDP dropped. Please thank the team and keep it up,” Dominguez added.

Dulay said he was optimistic that the BIR this year “will do good based on the recent announcement by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that we are on the road to economic recovery.”

“We will continue rowing and plowing and collecting these taxes,” Dulay said.

The BIR’s tax effort of 10.67 percent in 2020 was only slightly lower by half a percent compared to 11.2 percent in 2019, Dulay said in his report. (PR)