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Tag: Taxwise or Otherwise
It has been several months since the issuance of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 15-2019, requiring all registered domestic corporations to disclose their beneficial owners in their General Information Sheet (GIS). The MC aims to assist in the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act (TFPSA).
There’s a certain feeling of trepidation that most taxpayers get during tax audits. After all, a tax audit is no laughing matter. It involves flipping back the books and records of prior years to respond to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and often, making sense of past transactions for hours on end. But this is all par for the course, and what a complicated course it is.
With the close of the decade, we have seen how Philippine taxation has been transformed by numerous developments unfolding in the landscape. Several changes that are in the works may make progress in the coming months. One of them is the second package of the tax reform, which proposes to rationalize tax incentives.
The start of a new year (and in this case, the closing of a decade) is usually filled with hope and optimism. People generally scribble their resolutions, looking forward to another year of achieving more goals and milestones. For finance and accounting practitioners, the new year also marks the beginning of busier times ahead (especially those in companies that follow the calendar year as their accounting period), starting with the closing of accounting books and typically ending with the filing of the annual income tax return.
December is indeed the most festive period of the year. For most, it is an opportunity to take a much-needed break from work and spend some quality time with loved ones to celebrate Christmas and New Year. However, for us accountants, this marks the start of the busy season as yearend approaches. And so, before taxpayers all go on hiatus this holiday season, here are a few important reminders to ponder in areas of tax and payroll compliance.
Those who are familiar with tax treaty provisions know that they apply only to residents of countries which are parties to the treaty. Thus, the main documentary requirement to support eligibility for tax treaty relief is the proof of residency of the non-resident income-earner. More commonly known as a tax residency certificate (TRC), such proof of residency is a certification issued by the tax authority of the country of the income-earner, attesting that the latter is a resident of such country in the tax year concerned for purposes of the tax treaty being invoked.
Generally, the power of taxation extends only as far as the territorial jurisdiction of a state. However, digitalization of the economy defies these boundaries as the goods and services of digital enterprises become accessible anywhere around the globe. Digitalization likewise reduces, if not eliminates, the need to maintain bricks-and-mortar shops in a specific market jurisdiction since the customers can easily conclude a transaction with just one click. This new normal in our way of doing business makes it harder for countries, including the Philippines, to impose the appropriate taxes on digital transactions, especially on those that do not have a physical presence in the archipelago.
For those who dare to do their Christmas shopping at the eleventh hour, the ordeal of treading through Manila’s urban jungle is not for the faint-hearted. Lest one is not forewarned, it is wise to start Christmas shopping early, steering clear of the horrendous rush that can risk spoiling the holiday spirit.
To enhance efficiency, the government has strengthened and broadened the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 by passing Republic Act (RA) 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. The law took effect on June 17, 2018, intending to create programs that simplify requirements and streamline procedures in government transactions.
In Manila, you can tell that the Christmas season has begun when street posts and trees are adorned with glittering lights; traffic gets heavier, shopping malls become busier; and Christmas songs start playing on the airwaves. For Filipinos, Christmas is the most awaited holiday of the year, anticipated as early as September. Such festivities, fortunately or otherwise, come with gift-giving traditions and family celebrations that often obligate people to dig deeper into their pockets.
Comparable to our Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)-issued identification number, more popularly known as TIN, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) likewise issues an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which is used as a tax processing number. The ITINs are issued to individuals who are required to obtain one under United States (US) tax law, but who do not have and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
It is the activities of a non-stock, nonprofit corporation that entitle it to a tax exemption.
Almost two years after the enactment of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, corporations are gearing up for the second package in the government’s ongoing tax reform program. House Bill (HB) No. 4157, or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA), was approved by the House of Representatives on Sept. 13. It aims to gradually lower the corporate income tax rate and rationalize corporate tax incentives.
A powerful tool, a game-changing technology. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) has been a buzz word for years now. By definition, it’s a software robot that does what a user tells it to do – autonomously performing activities the same way a human user would on a machine. It is frequently used for manual, predictable and repetitive tasks to allow a more productive use of the process owner’s time. Its adoption has allowed companies to gain significant improvements in their operational metrics such as increased speed, quality, and functionality.
It’s been more than a year since the effectivity of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, but the effects of its implementation are far from over. Just this year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) released the following BIR Forms, labeled as January 2018 versions:
The proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) or House Bill No. 4157, the successor to the TRABAHO bill, seeks to gradually cut the corporate income tax rate of 30% down to 20%, in exchange for the reduction of incentives granted by investment promotion agencies like the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). CITIRA proposes to limit the perpetual grant of a preferential tax rate and to cap import duty exemptions to a maximum of five years. The House approved the bill on third and final reading in September, and when the Senate is ready with its own version, both chambers will sit down in bicameral session to harmonize both bills.
With the issuance of Executive Order No. 46 on Oct. 20, 2017, the duty of conducting the post clearance audit on imports was transferred to the Bureau of Customs (BoC) from the Department of Finance’s Fiscal Intelligence Unit. Along with the reversion of the Post Clearance Audit (previously known as the Post Entry Audit) to the BoC, it also brought back the Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) now called the Prior Disclosure Program (PDP).
Persons with Disability (PWDs) have persistently expressed their need for inclusion and to be given equal footing in society. Recognizing the Constitutional mandate to protect their rights, the government enacted Republic Act (RA) Nos. 9442 and 10754, also known as The Magna Carta for Persons with Disability and An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWD). The main objectives of these laws are to provide PWDs with the opportunity to participate in mainstream society and to support their total well-being.
The Philippine Financial Reporting Standard (PFRS) 16 on Leases became effective on Jan. 1. The new standard requires lessees to recognize all leases on their balance sheet except for relatively small-value assets and leases with terms of 12 months or less.
In taxation, it is a basic rule that every transaction must be supported by a valid and relevant proof to establish the existence of either a taxable or non-taxable event. However, no matter how many stacks of documents you keep, if these do not comply with the requirements of the tax laws, they will not serve their purpose.
When you overhear someone uttering the phrase “Hey, my friend,” it is often from friendly locals greeting visiting foreigners, much like the way Filipinos receive a warm “Hello buddy” or “Hi mate” when abroad. On a typical day at the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), Department of Justice (DoJ) or Bureau of Immigration (BI), foreigners intending to work in the Philippines receive a slightly different greeting -- “Where’s your TIN?” The question is a consequence of the Joint Guidelines signed by these agencies with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on the issuance of work and employment permits to foreign nationals.
Following the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Tax Amnesty Act [i.e., Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 4-2019], the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 57-2019 to address frequently-asked questions concerning the Tax Amnesty Application on Tax Delinquencies.
Tax rules are constantly subject to change. Whether covered by new laws or new administrative issuances, these changes are deemed sound policy if they contribute to the efficiency and fairness of our tax system, are uncomplicated to comply with, and ultimately, serve the interest of both the citizenry and the government.
Republic Act (RA) No. 11210, or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Feb. 20. Female workers in the private and public sectors can now enjoy a total of 105 days’ paid maternity benefit for live childbirth, regardless of the mode of delivery, with an option to extend for another 30 days without pay. Qualified solo parents are entitled to an additional 15 days’ paid leave. The law also provides 60 days’ paid leave for miscarriage and emergency termination of pregnancy.
A few weeks ago, my friends and I had the chance to visit the fascinating beaches of Boracay after it underwent rehabilitation for six months. I can still remember the last time I was there about two decades ago, recapturing the same feeling of awe when I first set foot on its powdery white sand. It took a while for me to return after reading news articles of how exploitation and profiteering of various business establishments had debased the pristine beauty of this island gem.
Every tax filing season, corporate taxpayers grapple to complete and collect all the certificates of Creditable Tax Withheld (BIR Form 2307) from their local customers up to the eleventh hour. Issues on the validity of the creditable withholding tax (CWT) certificates, and the propriety or timing of recognizing the income tax credits come to the fore. It makes me wonder how hard-earned money contributed to government coffers could still be subject to dispute.
Data is very much in the spotlight in today’s business environment. We se it in how organizations are moving towards automating their data-related processes in order to minimize their output error rate, reduce the cost of data remediation, and maximize insights. There has also been a surge in the demand for data professionals such as data scientists and engineers to better analyze unstructured pieces of data and turn them into valuable information (e.g., reliable trends, forecasts and projections).
One of the amendments introduced in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law is related to the issuance of receipts or sales/commercial invoices under Section 237 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). Previously, all persons subject to an internal revenue tax shall issue duly registered receipts or invoices for each sale of merchandise or services amounting to at least P25.00. With the passage of the TRAIN Law, Congress increased the threshold for the issuance of receipts and invoices to P100.00.
We are in the midst of a global “data evolution and revolution.” Data has been growing exponentially in volume and type. The abundance of data in the corporate world, on social media and the Internet of Things have made information very accessible with just a few clicks. What’s more, new actors such as “machine learning” heavily rely on data to learn and execute actions on its own.
One of the major changes introduced in the TRAIN law was mandatory e-invoicing. Under the law, taxpayers engaged in the export of goods and services, e-commerce, and those considered Large Taxpayers, are required to issue electronic invoices/receipts and to report their sales data to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) at the point of sale within five years from the effectivity of the TRAIN law, i.e., on or before Jan. 1, 2023. This measure is contingent on the establishment of a system capable of storing and processing the required data.
Recently, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) carried out mission orders authorizing revenue officers to conduct tax mapping operations that required them to inspect taxpayers’ premises within a specified area and to evaluate compliance with rules and regulations on registration and bookkeeping, particularly on the issuance of sales invoices or receipts, among others.
In the past months, I’ve had discussions with banks, business groups, and regulators about how data has become one of the most precious assets of an organization. Most, if not all of us, share the same perspective that data is indeed a key enabler of organizational growth. However, maximizing the value of data continues to be a big challenge.
So the TRABAHO Bill -- or, Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities, also known as TRAIN 2 -- failed to pass Congress. Its intent was to rationalize investment incentives by making them more time-bound and performance-based. What seems most controversial in the bill is the removal of the preferential 5% gross income earned (GIE) currently offered by Investment Promotion Agencies such as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
Prior to the enactment of the TRAIN Law, Section 100 of the Tax Code generally imposed a donor’s tax on transfers for less than an adequate and full consideration in money or money’s worth, whereby the amount by which the fair market value of the property exceeded the value of the consideration was deemed a gift, and included in computing the amount of gifts made during the calendar year.
In my article on fraud under this column last week, I cited PwC’s 2018 PwC Global Economic Crime Survey (GECS) Report which showed that 87% of internal fraud committed over the last two years were by members of management, specifically by junior, middle and senior corporate officers. In terms of principal function, the top five to which these internal fraud perpetrators belong are: Operations and Production (22%); Marketing and Sales (14%); Finance (11%); Procurement (10%); and Executive Management (10%).
It’s quite alarming that 54% of Philippine businesses have experienced fraud or economic crime over the last two years -- higher than 2016 levels by 20%. This was one of the key findings of the 2018 PwC Global Economic Crime Survey (GECS) Report for the Philippines, where organizations from various industries were asked to participate and share their encounters with fraud in the workplace.
“Health is wealth” is the quintessential slogan that captures the wisdom behind health care. After months of intensive and careful deliberation in both Legislative Houses, the dream measure of the government was finally signed into law with the vision of providing quality, accessible and affordable health care for Filipinos.