BIR opens its doors to corruption probe opening salvo
BIR, along with its sister agency, Bureau of Customs, was among the five government agencies prioritized by a multiagency task force led by the justice agency, but also included the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the President, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
KJ Rosales/File
BIR opens its doors to corruption probe opening salvo
Ramon Royandoyan (Philstar.com) - October 29, 2020 - 5:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) sees no problem getting the first taste of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government-wide corruption probe he delegated to the justice department.

“It is a welcome move as it will assist us with our continuing effort to rid of BIR of the remaining ‘bad eggs,’” BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said in a statement on Thursday.

BIR, along with its sister agency, Bureau of Customs, was among the five government agencies prioritized by a multiagency task force led by the justice agency, but also included the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the President, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

Dulay said the bureau will fully cooperate with the investigation.

The agency’s role as the main revenue collecting agency has brought with it a bad public reputation of also being home to some corrupt tax inspectors and assessors. In numerous cases, taxpayers trying to get away from hefty taxes typically do so in connivance with BIR officers.

The problem is deemed so severe that BIR has been the subject of many reforms from one administration to the next. Before he started his single 6-year term in 2016, then president-elect Duterte himself said he wanted to abolish the entire bureau as soon as he takes office, only not to proceed later on. 

At some point, BIR’s bad image comes with the job. The bureau is responsible in collecting 80% of annual tax revenues every year, making its workforce susceptible to abuse and corruption. To put this in check, several efforts were undertaken to minimize human interaction and upgrade BIR systems for seamless and electronic tax collection. The process however has been slow.

From January to September this year, BIR has collected P1.44 trillion, down 9.93% year-on-year as the pandemic shuttered businesses and weakened consumption, vital sources of state revenues.

Apart from BIR and Customs, the interagency task force would also train its sights on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Land Registration Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

BUREAU OF INTERNAL RVENUE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ)
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