DoF backs private sector perks to attract more BIR personnel

Posted on August 08, 2017

THE Department of Finance (DoF) said that improvements in non-salary incentives should also be looked into to make government service more attractive, with the bill for exempting the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) from the Salary Standardization Law still pending.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the BIR should be able to offer perks enjoyed by equivalent employees in the private sector, to help resolve its staffing problems.

“In exchange for special treatment on the salaries, you should also get special treatment (on non-salary items)... you should also have the same terms of employment of the private sector... That’s one of the points that we brought up,” Mr. Dominguez told reporters on Friday when asked about measures to address under-staffing at the BIR

He said officials should look at vacation benefits or sick leave to make BIR perks “more like the private sector because that is how they want to be paid. Just take the whole private sector.”

Mr. Dominguez expressed willingness to exempt the BIR from the government’s compensation structure, in exchange for surrendering security of tenure.

“I already said many times, you want to be exempted, to do that you’ll also be exempted from security of tenure,” said Mr. Dominguez.

The BIR said earlier that it currently employs 10,000 people, far from the needed 21,000 full staffing level.

Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said earlier that this was due to uncompetitive compensation and benefits. He said that some of its tax assessors earn P9,000 a month, while its lawyers are paid around P30,000, compared to the Security and Exchange Commission’s P35,000 monthly pay package for accountants and around P50,000 per month for lawyers.

“That its ridiculous, you’ll never hire a good lawyer at that rate,” said Mr. Dominguez.

Deputy Commissioner Jesus Clint O. Aranas pitched to Congress a draft bill to Congress in February -- House Bill 4973 authored by House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez and Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo E. Cua, but the legislation has not gained traction.

Mr. Dulay said that the bureau is currently looking at other measures to attract individuals to work for the BIR.

“We will study it because there maybe other ways (to implement) increases,” he said last week.

Mr. Dulay also cited support for Pampanga Rep. Gloria M. Macapagal-Arroyo’s bill creating a National Revenue Agency under House Bill 0695, to professionalize the tax bureau with an “attractive” compensation package and operations free from political interference.

The BIR, which is responsible for about 80% of government’s revenue, has set a goal of P1.829 trillion in collections this year. -- Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan