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BIR, already above-goal in Nov., posts worst revenue plunge in 2020
As a percentage of economic output, BIR registered a tax effort of 10.4%, the lowest since 2012’s 9.6%. 
KJ Rosales, File

BIR, already above-goal in Nov., posts worst revenue plunge in 2020

Ramon Royandoyan (Philstar.com) - January 25, 2021 - 2:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — Revenues collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) recorded their biggest plunge on record last year, but the total haul was sufficient to go way beyond a watered down target.

The tax bureau raked in P1.94 trillion in 2020, preliminary data released on Monday showed. That was represented an 11.23% drop from previous year’s level, the worst performance since comparable data became available in 1986.

As a percentage of economic output, BIR registered a tax effort of 10.4%, the lowest since 2012’s 9.6%. 

That BIR’s collections plummeted last year was expected given how lockdowns shuttered businesses and pulled down tax receipts from brick-and-mortar establishments. Still, collections beat the P1.69-trillion goal which had been lowered three times in April, August and September to reflect the bitter reality of the pandemic shrinking the revenue base considerably. BIR's tax take had breached the full-year goal since November. 

There were two ways this happened. First, after broad quarantines were declared from March to June, businesses shut down and consumers driving spending and tax collections stayed home. The reopening that followed was slow and even if restrictions had been relaxed, profit-less months forced business closures while consumers were too scared of the virus contagion to dine and shop out. 

Second, some businesses that survived the health crisis turned online where BIR scrambled to monitor transactions to recover some lost tax base. Administrative-wise, collections nonetheless proceeded efficiently with 94% of 2020 tax returns filed through online platforms like Globe Telecom Inc.’s Gcash and PLDT Inc.’s PayMaya. These returns generated a total of P1.67 trillion.

Before the pandemic struck, BIR’s original goal was pegged at P2.58 trillion. 

“We will continue rowing and plowing and collecting these taxes,” BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said in a statement.

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE I NOVEL CORONA VIRUS PHILSTARDATA
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