THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said it will waive penalties for income tax return (ITR) amendments provided that settlement payments are made on or before June 15, with the bureau still enforcing the April 15 filing deadline while Luzon is on lockdown.

BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay issued Revenue Memorandum Circular on March 16 reiterating that the tax filing deadline remains April 15. However, it allows taxpayers to file ITRs tentatively if they believe the return to be prone to error due to “limitations in the preparation” during the one-month lockdown.

The order allows amendments to be filed “at any time” with no penalty if any additional income tax is settled on or before June 15.

“Considering the limitations in the preparation of the AITR (annual income tax return) to be filed by concerned taxpayers due to the aforesaid lockdown, errors in the determination of their income taxes are possible. Hence, taxpayers, at any time, can amend their AITR filed, provided the concerned taxable period has not been the subject of an audit,” according to the circular, a copy of which was sent to journalists Tuesday.

“An amendment that will result in additional income tax to be paid, can still be paid without the imposition of corresponding penalties if the same shall be done not later than June 15, 2020,” it added.

The BIR also urged taxpayers to use its electronic facilities to file their tax returns to limit their exposure to COVID-9, which has infected 142 people and killed 12 in the Philippines so far.

Taxpayers can still file through over-the-counter through an authorized bank or via BIR revenue collection offices.

The bureau’s electronic channels include those offered by Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, Union Bank of the Philippines and e-wallet services like GCash and Paymaya.

“The filing of tax returns manually can still be done by those who are not mandated to file and pay electronically, if the AITR to be filed has tax due and payable. If there is no tax to be paid, the same are required to be filed through eBIRForm facilities,” according to the circular.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday placed Luzon under “enhanced community quarantine” until April 13 to slow the spread of the disease, ordering home quarantine for most residents and limiting non-essential movement.

The order suspends classes, public transportation and work in government offices except for those under minimal staffing arrangements. It also asked the private sector to halt operations or adopt work-from-home schemes, but exempted those providing basic services necessities from home quarantine, including workers at groceries, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, restaurants with delivery service, banks, and utilities. — Beatrice M. Laforga