Sometimes one just ain’t enough
BITAG - Julius Patrick C. Acosta (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2016 - 12:00am

It was a hot Friday afternoon in May. I just passed the Bar exams and successful examinees were required to register at the Supreme Court (SC) for the oath-taking. The SC is just around six kilometers from where I reside but, with the heat and the heavy traffic that day, going there turned out to be much more taxing than it should have been.

I arrived two hours later and went straight to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC). There was a line, as expected, but I really did not mind waiting. I was excited, to be honest. After all, I was there to register to take an oath as a new lawyer! And besides, the line was moving quite fast.

Some friends told me beforehand that all I needed to bring was some cash and an ID. So when it was already my turn to register, I immediately presented my voter’s ID to the OBC staff, feeling all giddy and enthusiastic…until he asked for another ID.

I panicked. I ransacked my bag and wallet hoping that, by some chance, my passport, PhilHealth ID, or student driver’s permit would be there – they were not. Then I said, “Sir, isa lang po ang dala ko na ID. Paano po ‘yan?” (Sir, I only brought one ID. What should I do?) He replied, “Bumalik ka na lang sa Lunes.” (Come back on Monday.)

And just like that, my excitement turned into frustration. I left the OBC, having accomplished nothing, and now dreading the thought of enduring horrible traffic and waiting in line again.

Why did I have to present another ID after already having shown one that: (1) is government-issued; and (2) contains my name, address, date of birth, signature and a picture of my face? I will never know. But the fact remains that hours of my life were wasted just because I did not have another ID.

I share this plight with persons, both natural and juridical, who have spent much more time and resources in procuring superfluous documentary requirements, and have been burdened by the tedious process involved in government-related transactions.

Thankfully, in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), this situation was addressed by its issuance of Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 93-2016.

RMC No. 93-2016 streamlines business registration by implementing a simple three-step process, which is complemented by a revised checklist of documentary requirements. It also introduced the automatic approval of Authority to Print (ATP) for initial principal receipts/invoices for newly registered business taxpayers.

The circular covers transactions involving self-employed individuals (including professionals and mixed income earners), estates and trusts, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, associations, registration of branch and facility types, local and foreign employees, purely Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) issuance, ATP receipts/invoices, books of accounts, registration information updates, transfer of registration, and cancellation of TIN.

The three steps of business registration, as provided by RMC No. 93-2016, are: (STEP 1) Application for registration wherein the registrant must submit all the required documents; (STEP 2) Payment of the annual registration fee which can be done via Mobile Revenue Collection Officers System, Authorized Agent Banks, Revenue Collection Officer or GCash; and (STEP 3) Getting the Certificate of Registration with auto-approved ATP for initial principal receipts/invoices.

The circular reduced the number of documentary requirements for some covered transactions – clearly for the benefit of the taxpayers. However, each checklist of documentary requirements contains an acknowledgment by the taxpayer that the application will only be processed upon submission of all the required documents, which is rightfully so.

Registration of self-employed individuals, estates and trusts was made easier by removing the Contract of Service and Sworn Statement of Capital requirements. And from two IDs, the circular now only requires one government-issued ID showing the name, address, and birthdate of the applicant.

Proof of Ownership/Legal Possession (of the place of business) is no longer required for the registration of self-employed individuals, corporations, partnerships, and branch/facility types. Further, a copy of the notarized judicial settlement is no longer required for the registration of trusts under judicial settlement.

For one-time transactions (ONETT) such as donation, sale of shares of stock and/or real properties, claim of winnings, and sale of second-hand vehicles, the circular requires only the corresponding BIR form and one government-issued ID.

From five documents, applications for change of accounting period now only require two: a duly filled-up BIR form and a photocopy of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Certificate of Filing of Amended By-Laws showing the change of accounting period.

These changes, among others, are far from being minute. The issuance of RMC No. 93-2016 is a big step in reducing excessive formalities in tax-related transactions, thereby lessening, and eventually eliminating, the propensity for corruption. And by having a more efficient process and removing the redundant documentary requirements, taxpayers will be encouraged to register with the BIR thereby increasing the taxpayer registry, which could lead to a corresponding increase in tax revenue collection.

There is really nothing wrong with laying down requirements that must be strictly complied with. Each requirement, no matter how inconvenient it may be, has a legitimate purpose. But when the inconvenience has already become unnecessary and avoidable, it is imperative to take action. Requiring an additional ID card should never make that much of a fuss.

Julius Patrick C. Acosta is a supervisor from the tax group of KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co. (KPMG RGM&Co.), the Philippine member firm of KPMG International. KPMG RGM&Co. has been recognized as a Tier 1 tax practice, Tier 1 transfer pricing practice, Tier 1 leading tax transactional firm and the 2016 National Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year in the Philippines by the International Tax Review.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or KPMG RGM&Co. For comments or inquiries, please email ph-inquiry@kpmg.com or rgmanabat@kpmg.com.

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