THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will expand its list of Authorized Agent Banks as collections via electronic payment schemes rise in importance.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Lanee S. Cui-David told reporters last week that the agency is currently in discussions with government financial institutions and commercial banks, to allow taxpayers to pay their dues via debit or credit cards in more banks.

“There are actually ongoing talks with other banks like Land Bank [of the Philippines], Union Bank [of the Philippines],” she said.

She also noted that such services are undergoing a soft launch with the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Authorized Agent Banks, or AABs are financial institutions that are accredited to act as intermediaries in government transactions.

“We have lots of projects in store for 2018, so that is not just one project. But we have of course sustainability costs for the e-filing system. We need to maintain the system so we also incur costs for that and that is included in the 2018 budget,” she said.

As of July, the share of BIR collections generated by e-payments was 74%. In 2016, the e-payments level was 83%, up from 74% in 2015.

Ms. David added that the agency is also integrating its e-Filing and Payments System and their e-BIR Forms into a single system.

This year, the BIR is expected to collect P1.829 trillion in taxes. As of July, it has so far collected P986.09 billion. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan