Top firms pay taxes ahead of deadline

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THE country’s top companies, led by BDO Unibank, Inc., settled their income taxes ahead of the extended deadline, according to the Department of Finance (DoF).

The Sy-led lender topped the initial list of the Top 500 Annual Income Tax Returns filers for 2019 released by the DoF on Monday.

The firms were ranked based on the amount of taxes paid per annual income tax return as of May 19. However, the exact amount of taxes paid were not disclosed.

Gokongwei-led real estate company Robinsons Land Corp. ranked second on the list, followed by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Ayala’s Bank of the Philippine Islands and pharmaceutical company Unilab, Inc.

Rounding out the top 10 are drugstore chain Mercury Drug Corp., water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc., Metrobank Card Corp., telecommunications firm Globe Telecom, Inc. and Philippine Ports Authority.

“We hope that the commendable act of these taxpayers would inspire other taxpayers to do the same and contribute to our nation-building as we work together to get the economy back on its feet in the face of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as saying.

Ranked 11th to 20th on the list are: Innove Communications, Inc., Manila International Airport Authority, Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp., Taganito Mining Corp., Security Bank Corp., Monde Nissin Corp., Eagle Cement Corp., Huawei Technologies Phil., Inc., Phil Gold Processing & Refining Corp. and First Gas Power Corp.

Other top taxpayers ranked 21st to 30th are: Robinson’s Supermarket Corp., Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Philippine Seven Corp., The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. Inc., Cebu Energy Development Corp., Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd., South Luzon Tollway Corp., Cebu Air, Inc., and Monde M.Y. San Corp.

The full list is available on the DoF website

Due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) extended the deadline for filing and payment of ITR and other returns three times from the original schedule of April 30. The latest deadline is now on June 15.

However, BIR said last week it would no longer extend the deadline for filing and payment of these tax returns, citing the government’s need to collect revenues to fund programs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Citing BIR regulations, the DoF said those that filed their ITRs ahead of the extended deadline can still amend the tax returns any time prior to the new deadline, without having to pay penalties in case the amended return results in additional taxes.

If the amended tax returns will result in overpayment, the DoF said taxpayers can either carry over the overpaid taxes as credit against their taxes due for the similar type of tax or file for a refund.

The DoF, citing preliminary data, said combined collections of the BIR and Bureau of Customs (BoC) dropped to P105.75 billion last month, 63% lower than a year earlier. BIR collected P71.78 billion in taxes for the month of April, down 70% year on year.

For the first four months of 2020, total collections of the BIR and BoC fell 21% to P706.85 billion. The sharp drop in tax collections was largely attributed to deferment of tax payment deadlines and the lower collections in value-added and excise taxes amid the ECQ.

Revenue collection targets for this year were slashed by 17.7% to P2.61 trillion from the P3.17-trillion program approved in March amid a dire economic output forecast and weak global demand. — Beatrice M. Laforga