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BIR, Customs start cutting red tape

MANILA, Philippines - Five weeks after the new administration took over, there is no stopping revenue agencies from heeding President Duterte’s order of cutting red tape.

In separate orders, the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Customs announced a fresh string of reforms concerning tax payments processing by banks and BIR offices as well as tax refund for traders.

Under Revenue Memorandum Order 45-2016, BIR ordered authorized agent banks (AAB) and revenue district offices (RDOs) to “timely upload” and reflect tax payments on their systems.

The order seemed to be a mere reiteration since deputy commissioner Nelson Aspe said data are updated “real time.” Nonetheless, BIR said sanctions and penalties would be imposed to violators.

“(This is) so that the same can be utilized in the processing of any request for certificates, clearances or other documents where the prior verification of tax payments is one of the requirements...,” the order dated July 29 stated.

For AABs, tax payments they accepted and recorded on their batch control sheets should be transmitted to BIR data centers “within 48 hours from their receipt.”

A separate daily consolidated report should be transmitted by e-mail to the BIR head office within five days from receipt of payments.

All transactions are governed by agreements between the BIR and the banks.

For RDOs, a “dedicated revenue personnel” should be appointed to regularly monitor and upload data from AABs to government system. Data found with discrepancies should be resolved immediately.

The latest issuance bode well with earlier orders from BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay to fast track release of tax clearances and certificate authorizing registration to five days from up to 10 days.

He also vowed to release international carriers certificates within the day of application, provided they are filed by 2 p.m.

Customs, meanwhile, abolished its Tax Credit Secretariat and instead ordered that all tax credit claims go directly to the Office of the Commissioner.

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