THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said income tax collections could fall year on year at the April tax deadline, which represents the first time income tax returns are filed under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

“Compared with 2018 collections… maybe it might be lower but we are hoping we still exceed the actual April 2018 collection because kahit bumaba ang personal income tax ng individual, mas dumami naman ang filers (even though personal income tax fell for individuals, more people are filing),” BIR Deputy Commissioner Marissa O. Cabreros said in a briefing in Quezon City Monday, the last day for filing income tax.

Ms. Cabreros said that BIR collected P140 billion at the 2018 income tax deadline, while total tax collections amounted to P230 billion during the period.

Ms. Cabreros said there were 19.2 million registered taxpayers at the 2018 deadline, of which 16.2 million were compensation earners who no longer need to file their own returns due to substituted filing, which their employers perform for them. The remaining 3 million are self-employed professionals or single proprietors.

“For our corporate taxpayers, there were 932,000 registered, pero sa TRAIN, walang change sa corporate income tax (there was no change in corporate income tax under TRAIN). It’s the personal income tax which had a drastic change,” Ms. Cabreros said, noting that TRAIN exempted from filing all minimum wage earners and those earning less than P250,000 annually.

“This is the first filing (of) income tax for TRAIN. Once we get the final figure, makikita natin ang performance and comparative before TRAIN and after TRAIN (We will get an idea of the year-on-year performance and be able to compare before-TRAIN and after-TRAIN implementation),” Ms. Cabreros said.

The BIR still expects higher collections overall in 2019, with growth in the double digits, after P1.962 trillion was collected in 2018.

“We expect to have a growth rate of a double-digit figure… because the increase in the goal for this year is about 14.8% so we should try to hit that figure as much as possible but it shouldn’t be less than double-digits,” BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said.

“Hopefully, we should go above P2 trillion in 2019,” Mr. Dulay said.

Mr. Dulay also added that the tax amnesty program, which will allow delinquent taxpayers to seek compromise settlements for their accounts starting on April 24, is expected to contribute to the increase of collection for this year.

“The tax amnesty is intended to increase our collections,,” Mr. Dulay said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio