BIR collection slips amid lockdown

By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter

THE Bureau of Internal and Revenue (BIR) missed its collection target by 13{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} in March, as the government began tightening lockdown restrictions to curb the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections.

Arnel SD. Guballa, BIR deputy commissioner for operations, on Wednesday said the agency collected P127.4 billion in taxes in March, 13{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} short of its P146.3-billion target for the month, citing preliminary data.

Last month’s collection was also 3.19{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} smaller than the P131.6 billion in March 2020, and 17.35{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} lower than the P154.14 billion in February.

In a Viber message, Mr. Guballa attributed the below-target tax collection to the impact of the stricter lockdown in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

These areas were placed under a general community quarantine with more restrictions starting March 22, and later under an enhanced community quarantine starting March 29 until April 11. Restrictions were slightly eased until April 30.

Revenues in March brought the BIR’s first-quarter collection to P463.69 billion, 1{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} lower than the P468.79 billion it generated in the same period last year.

The BIR is targeting to collect P231.57 billion this month, mainly from annual income tax payments.

The deadline for filing and payment of annual income tax returns is on April 15 (Thursday).

Despite calls for an extension due to stricter quarantine measures and the delayed implementation of the law that cut the corporate income tax, the government announced it was keeping the April 15 deadline.

Republic Act 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act was signed on March 26 and the implementing rules were only released last week.

Instead of a deadline extension, the BIR waived penalties for tax return amendments until May 15 and allowed taxpayers to file their ITRs even outside their registered district offices.

BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay did not respond to queries as of press time when asked if a deadline extension is still possible.

The BIR is the largest tax-collecting agency, generating 70{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} of the state’s total revenues. The agency is tasked to collect P2.081 trillion this year.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs exceeded its collection target for the third straight month in March. It raked in P54.5 billion last month, beating its P47.7-billion goal by 14{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07}, and also up by 22{7cf23ffd9f893b42e5168467dbdff3dd8c8539e14232c919813e000f7f93ca07} year on year.

Customs aims to generate P620 billion this year.

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