THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) could save as much as P230 million annually in transaction fees if taxes are paid online, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

Shifting BIR’s online payment system to PESONet from the traditional over-the-counter payment will lower transaction fees charged by banks to P25 from P40 currently, Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko said in a statement.

This will save the government around P230 million annually if 80% of total transactions or over 15 million internal revenue tax payments are migrated to digital processes, it said.

The PESONet-enabled payment system was launched on Aug. 15, allowing clients to pay through participating bank’s digital channels such as Lank Bank of the Philippines and the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

“The BIR has launched a digital tax payments system allowing Filipinos to conveniently pay their taxes online using the electronic funds transfer service PESONet, in line with the Duterte administration’s goal to cut red tape and improve the ease of doing business to better serve the public and attract more investors,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as saying in the statement.

DoF said it hopes to include other bills and utilities in digital payment systems as well as expand the number of participating banks.

The online tax payment system is a partnership between private sector and government.

PESONet is the first automated clearing house (ACH) under BSP’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS) policy framework.

PESONet is a batch electronic fund transfer credit payment service, processing batch transfers and crediting the amount to the receiver within the day, if sent within the cut-off period.

Along with PESONet, InstaPay was also launched in April last year as an ACH, which processes real-time transfers up to P50,000 per transaction through bank accounts or e-wallets from service providers.

In December, BIR launched its electronic Tax Software Providers Certification System (eTSPCert), an online certification system that authorizes and verifies third-party providers of electronic tax solutions. This was launched through a partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

BIR, the biggest revenue-collecting agency, collected P1.247 trillion in the seven months to July, up 10.47% from a year earlier. — Beatrice M. Laforga