Revenue agencies seen to meet collection goals
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance (DOF) expressed confidence Wednesday the government’s top revenue collecting arms, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC), will meet their respective collection targets for this year.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez believes the BIR and BOC will be able to attain their collection goals of P1.83 trillion and P468 billion, respectively, given their “solid” performance in 2016 and at the onset of 2017.

 “The BIR and the BOC are working quite hard and we’re pretty sure that they will hit their targets for this year,” Dominguez said.

In 2016, the BIR collected P1.575 trillion in revenue, 9.31 percent higher than the previous year’s P1.44 trillion. The year-end collection, however, was short of the BIR’s target of P1.62 trillion.

The government’s largest revenue collecting arm also registered an improvement in collections as of Feb. 19, Dominguez said. The BIR’s collections from Jan. 1 to Feb. 19 increased to P202.44 billion from P180.71 billion in the same period last year.

The BOC, likewise, was able to improve its collections in 2016 8.5 percent to P398.41 billion from P367.06 billion in 2015.

As of Feb. 19, the BOC’s year-to-date collection also grew by 13.31 percent to P55.06 billion from P48.59 billion in the same period in 2016.

Dominguez attributed the growth in collections to the reforms implemented by the BIR and the BOC to improve taxpayer satisfaction, combat corruption and restore the public’s trust for the agencies.

He said the BIR has also started expanding its Large Taxpayers Service (LTS) to cover the top 3,000 corporations in the country, which account for 75 percent of the total tax revenue of the government.

The BIR is also carrying out initiatives to cut red tape in the bureau to ease payments and encourage tax compliance.

The BOC, for its part, is now completing the implementing rules and regulations of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act to further ease facilitation of trade and strengthen the government’s anti-corruption and anti-smuggling operations.

The BOC will also intensify its border patrols and introduce other measures to curb technical smuggling, including the use of fuel marking.

However, Dominguez said the implementation of tax administration reforms at the BIR and BOC would not be sufficient to raise enough revenues to fund the Duterte administration’s thrust to intensify public spending for infrastructure and social protection programs.

He said tax administration reforms should come with tax policy reforms, as proposed under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) of the DOF.

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