THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it missed its January tax collection target by 3.5% or P2 billion due in part to Lunar New Year falling during the month, with the result not yet reflecting the disruptions to global trade posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

BoC Assistant Commissioner and Spokesperson Vincent Philip C. Maronilla told BusinessWorld the bureau collected P56.107 billion last month, according to preliminary data, highlighting the 16% year-on-year gain.

“(January’s collection) is pretty good, considering na maaga ang Chinese new year (even when we factor in the early Chinese new year). Year-on-year, we’re about 16% (up), rough estimate (or even higher),” he said Tuesday.

BoC’s Mr. Maronilla said trade volume increased in January.

The global coronavirus outbreak originating in China spread alongside the peak Mainland travel period of Lunar New Year. The new year in 2020 fell on Jan. 25.

The coronavirus formally known as Covid-19, disrupted global supply chains after Beijing isolated whole communities and extended the holiday to contain the spread of the disease, leaving factories idle.

The Finance department has estimated that the number of shipping containers landed in the Philippines from China fell 62.15% year-on-year in the first half of February.

This year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is tasked to collect P2.576 trillion or 78% of the P3.3-trillion goal assigned to the two biggest tax collection agencies, while the BoC is tasked to collect the remaining P731.235 billion.

The BIR has also reported a decline in sales of businesses, especially hotels after occupancy rates plunged due to the outbreak.

BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel S.D. Guballa has said the eruption of Taal Volcano also disrupted business operations for the region, which might result in lower tax yield.

Mr. Guballa said BIR’s regional offices are still assessing the potential impact on their collections, especially those from large taxpayers who are expected to provide more than P1.6 trillion of the its collection target for the year.

BIR and BoC collections make up the bulk of the country’s revenues, and are being counted on to fund the government’s P4.1 trillion spending plan this year. — Beatrice M. Laforga