BIR readies road map to full digital transformation

By: Ben O. de Vera - Philippine Daily Inquirer November 23,2019 - 10:40 AM

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is preparing a road map that will digitally transform the country’s biggest tax-collection agency to better serve taxpayers by 2030.

In a recent presentation, Deputy Commissioner Lanee Cui S. David said the BIR’s 2030 vision was to become a “digitally transformed institution, providing convenient, reliable and transparent services to taxpayers, resulting in more resources to provide comfortable and secure lives for Filipinos.”

David said the 2030 roadmap was the BIR’s response to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III’s earlier order for the agency to make all its transactions with clients instantaneous and seamless.

“The BIR’s digital transformation will translate to more convenient, reliable and transparent services to our taxpayers. It will result in world-class tax administration and provide us more resources for investments on behalf of the Filipino people. The more efficient BIR becomes, the more effective government will be in achieving its goals,” Dominguez said during the BIR’s 115th anniversary celebration last August.

According to David, 1.8 million or 57 percent of taxpayers last year were “eFilers” who used the BIR’s electronic payment channels.

Among the 2018 income tax returns, 81 percent or 20.5 million were “eFiled.”

In 2015, there were only 696,000 eFilers among taxpayers and just 9.8 million returns eFiled, according to David.

Of last year’s tax collections, P1.64 trillion worth or 84 percent of the total were processed through e-payment channels, but David said 81 percent or 15.3 million transactions were still over-the-counter.

This year, David said the BIR launched more eFiling and ePayment channels, such as Union Bank’s online payment facility, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) PESONet, and PayMaya for mobile tax payments.

Under its 2030 roadmap, the BIR plans to streamline tax payments to prioritize taxpayers next year; further innovate and elevate the taxpayer experience in 2021, and automate to allow “anytime-and-anywhere” tax services for taxpayers by 2022, David said.

Among the specific online systems that the BIR will develop under its digital transformation roadmap are e-invoicing and e-receipting, a value-added tax (VAT) refund system, fuel marking and testing, internal revenue stamps integrated system (Irsis) for alcohol, and electronic BIR forms 2306 and 2307, David added.

The BIR is also looking for new mobile apps that will make tax payments easier and accessible online through its contest dubbed “Hack-A-Tax.”

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