Gov’t tax haul drops 49% in May

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Stores inside malls remained closed during the lockdown in Metro Manila, May 27. -- Reuters

By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter

The government’s tax haul continued to slump in May, as the deferment of tax payments and slowdown in economic activity took its toll.

Citing preliminary data, the Department of Finance (DoF) on Friday said combined tax collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BoC) declined 48.62% to P135.45 billion last month from P263.64 billion a year ago.

Collections fell 61.72% short of the P353.8-billion combined BIR-BoC target for the month.

Broken down, BIR’s total collections for the month plunged 48.68% to P105.44 billion from P205.47 billion in May 2019. It also missed its P320.47-billion collection target by around 67%.

The bureau’s Large Taxpayers Service (LTS) generated P41.1 billion in May, down 49% from P81.32 billion logged a year ago. This figure was 71% short of the P139.58-billion collection goal.

Total income tax from large taxpayers stood at P60.38 billion in May, down 51% from a year ago and 74% short of the P232.68 billion target.

Value-added tax (VAT) collections were halved to P15.43 billion from P32.38 billion seen a year ago. LTS’ collections of VAT likewise slid 40% year on year to P12.47 billion.

For Customs, collections from duties and taxes dropped 48% to P30.01 billion in May from P58.17 billion a year ago. It failed to meet its P33.333 billion target for the month.

In the January to May period, the combined collections of the two biggest revenue-generating agencies in the country slipped 17.7% to P874.91 billion from P1.062 trillion in the same period last year.

This was 24.9% lower than the P1.164-trillion target for the five-month period.

BoC collected P210.18 billion in five months, down 16.5% from a year ago and missing the P213.51-billion goal.

BIR collected P664.74 billion during the January to May period, 27.13% lower year-on-year and 21.7% short of the P848.91 billion target.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on Tuesday attributed the lower collection on the
lockdown’s impact on the economy, as well as the deferment of the filing and payment of income taxes.

The lockdown in Metro Manila and other parts of the country continued through May before restrictions began easing in June.

Deadlines of filing and settling tax returns have been pushed back several times due to lockdown, with the final deadline for income tax pushed back to June 15 from the original April 15 schedule.

Mr. Dominguez said they expect state tax collections to “catch up” by the end of June.

Collection targets for the two agencies have been slashed on expectations of a deeper economic slowdown. The BIR is tasked to collect only P1.744 trillion this year, while BoC’s reduced target was pegged at P541.703 billion.

Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) estimated government revenues will settle at P2.929 trillion this year, lower than the previously estimated of P3.17 trillion as the economy is expected to shrink by 2-3.4%.