BIR and the red tapeBy Atty. Rester John Lao Nonato
Cebu Daily News
THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) allegedly to promote the delivery of quality service to all stakeholders, has through Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 80-2012 dated Nov. 28, 2012, directed all revenue officials and employees who are performing “frontline service” to adhere to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9485, otherwise known as the “Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.”
The following BIR offices that have face-to-face interaction with taxpayers and other external stakeholders such as tax practitioners, representatives of authorized agent banks, government agencies, etc.) are covered by RA No. 9485: a) All Regional Offices and all its Divisions, except Administrative Division and Document Processing Division; b) All Revenue District Offices; c) All Divisions under the Large Taxpayers Service except LT Document Processing and Quality Assurance Division and LT Performance Monitoring and Programs Division; d) Taxpayer Information and Education Division; e) Asset Valuation Division; f) One Stop Shop Center; g) Collection Enforcement Division; h) Collection Programs Division; i) Withholding Tax Division; j) Law Division; k) International Tax Affairs Division; l) Appellate Division; and m) National Investigation Division.
Based on this regulation which reiterates a 2007 law, all applications and/or requests submitted shall be acted upon by the assigned officer or employee in a period not longer than five working days in the case of simple transactions and 10 working days in the case of complex transactions from the date the request or application was
Depending on the nature of the frontline services requested or the mandate of the office or agency under unusual circumstances, the maximum time may be extended. The office or agency concerned shall notify the requesting party in writing of the reason for the extension and the final date of release for the extension and the final date of release of the frontline service/s
BIR officers and employees may be held liable for violations of RA No. 9485, and be punished with the proper penalties prescribed therein.
Although the issuance of Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 80-2012 seems at first glance commendable, the law which has been in place since the year 2007 was already effective and should have been followed strictly since its enactment even without the regulation.
Yet, the reality of it all however is that the law is largely ignored by most government agencies sadly including the BIR. For example, I have encountered requests for rulings with the BIR Law Division which has been pending for years now. Even worse, I have encountered requests for rulings with the BIR Law Division where the docket of our request just without reason
Strict compliance of this regulation most especially the 5-10 day deadlines should therefore not remain as mere lip-service and should be a standard met by every BIR official. This challenge therefore remains for the BIR.
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