THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said it collected P548 million in the nine months to September from establishments temporarily closed down for failing to register or pay taxes in arrears, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement Wednesday.

The DoF said the taxes were collected from 178 commercial establishments temporarily closed down under “Oplan Kandado.” The nine-month tally was equivalent to 28.5% of the year-earlier level of P1.92 billion, when the BIR was able to close 743 establishments.

The DoF said there is potentially P338 million worth of collectable tax liabilities from the 14 pending cases at the Court of Tax Appeals; as well as from the 72 complaints filed before the Department of Justice involving an estimated P3.4 billion worth of tax obligations.

The bureau’s Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program aims to promote voluntary tax compliance among businesses by intensifying the campaign to go after tax evaders.

Last year’s results from the Oplan Kandado and RATE program, which seeks to encourage compliance, showed significant improvement from 2018. Oplan Kandado collections rose over 200% from the P799.47 million generated in 2018, RATE cases rose 66% from the 209 complaints filed in 2018.

The BIR’s total tax collections fell 9.91% to P1.443 trillion in the nine months to September as the pandemic hindered consumption and business operations. — Beatrice M. Laforga