By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter
THE ongoing tax amnesty program has yielded more than P2.5 billion in collections so far, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which expects more taxpayers to avail themselves of the program after the cut-off date was extended to end-2020.
In a text message, BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel S.D. Guballa told BusinessWorld the agency has collected as of May P2.5 billion from the tax amnesty program for delinquent accounts, which started in April 2019.
Taxpayers can avail themselves of the tax amnesty on delinquency until Dec. 31, 2020, according to Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 15-2020 dated June 19.
BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay issued the order to amend the previous directive under RR-4-2019 and further extend the cut-off date for availing of the tax amnesty on delinquency to Dec. 31, from June 22.
The deadline has been extended four times from the original schedule of April 23, 2020.
“The deadline is extended to accommodate more delinquent taxpayers and at the same time, (collect) additional revenues for the government and (for the) taxpayers (that have) pending tax cases be settled,” Mr. Guballa said in a text message last week.
Maria Lourdes P. Lim, tax managing partner of Isla Lipana & Co., PwC Philippines said the extension of the cut-off period will be beneficial for both taxpayers to settle their cases as well as the government to raise revenues “with reduced enforcement cost.”
“(However), considering the pandemic and income tax filing season, this may not be a priority given limited resources,” Ms. Lim said in a text message on Sunday.
The RR 15-2020 also set a three-working-day period for offices of the BIR to issue Certificate of Delinquencies or Tax Liabilities from the day of request, one of the documents needed to avail for the program.
“Previously, it took at least one week to secure the COD. This somehow will streamline the process,” Ms. Lim added.
BIR also has an ongoing estate tax amnesty that gives individuals a two-year window starting May 2019.
Republic Act No. 11213, signed into law in February 2019, provides tax amnesty programs for individuals to settle their outstanding obligations and close their delinquency assessment cases in past years up to 2017 for delinquent accounts, as well as the unsettled estates due to nonpayment of estate taxes.
The two tax amnesty programs are among the revenue-generating measures under the government’s comprehensive tax reform program.
The Department of Finance (DoF) earlier estimated the tax amnesty for delinquent accounts could yield the government up to P21 billion in collections and another P6 billion from estate tax amnesty.
DoF data showed there were 18 tax amnesty programs implemented between 1972 and 2008, with the last one yielding P4.913 billion in collections.