THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said its contest to design an app simplifying the taxpaying process will continue to take submissions from the public until Nov. 15.

BIR officials acknowledged that the contest, billed as “Hackatax,” signifies that the current process is cumbersome with many “pain points” for taxpayers.

At a news conference Monday in Quezon City, BIR Deputy Commissioner Lanee Cui S. David said proposals will be evaluated on creativity and design, including the user interface and the user experience.

Also to be graded are the app’s business model, the performance of the prototype, and the final presentation, Ms. David added.

The BIR launched the program on Oct. 15.

Maraming problema (There are a lot of problems) with doing business, mahirap mag-register, mahirap mag-file ng tax (it’s difficult to register and file tax documents) especially if you’re an MSME (micro, small and medium enterprise). For people that can envision those solutions, whether you’re a student or a professional, you can participate,” according to Winston Damarillo, founder of DevCon Philippines, a non-profit promoting IT talent.

Mr. Damarillo said developers will be provided with dummy data for testing the final product.

Ms. David said that while the application will be developed by the winning contestant, the BIR will handle the back end operations to keep the data safe.

A shortlist of 10 entries will be announced on Nov. 22. They have until March to develop the final product.

At stake are unspecified cash prizes, enrollment into the BIR’s Tax Software Provider (TSP) certification system, and admission to start-up incubator programs.

Participants can also monetize their entries by directly marketing it to taxpayers. — Beatrice M. Laforga