PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) is on track to meet its revenue goal again this year if the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, officials said.

This as the BIR reported its first-half collection breached the P1-trillion mark.

Marissa O. Cabreros, deputy commissioner at the bureau, said on Sunday that the country’s biggest revenue-generating agency is optimistic it will be able to hit its P2.081-trillion target for the entire year, as economic activity picks up.

“We should always target the attainment of the goal since these are set based on the expenditure plan of the government for the year,” she said in a phone call, adding that better economic landscape should help prop up BIR’s collections.

The bureau generated P1.034 trillion from January to June, exceeding its P1.018-trillion target for the period by 1.61%, BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said in a text message on Friday.

This was also 8.11% higher than the P956.397-billion tax collection in the first half of 2020, when strict lockdowns halted nearly all economic activity.

In the first half of 2021, the economy showed signs of recovery as quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and surrounding areas have been eased, alongside the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Economic managers set yearly collection goals for the bureau and other revenue-generating offices to fund the government’s spending plan, and borrows the rest to plug the funding gap. For this year, the state has set a P4.5-trillion budget and projected total revenues to hit P2.881 trillion.

To recall, the BIR exceeded its downscaled target last year after generating P1.846 trillion, 12.5% above the P1.642-trillion goal. It accounted for 74% of the government’s total revenues worth P2.5 trillion in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs also exceeded its P291.833-billion goal for the first half by 3.7%, after collecting P302.74 billion.

This made up 48.83% of the BoC’s P620-billion collection target for the entire year.

The economy is projected to grow by 6-7% this year. — Beatrice M. Laforga