BIR extending ITR filing deadline to May 15
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is extending the deadline for the filing of income tax returns (ITR) to May 15 as the nation grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
The development was announced by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go in a statement on Thursday.
“After discussing the matter with President Rodrigo Duterte and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF and the BIR have agreed in principle to my appeal to extend by one month the said deadline to May 15,” he said.
Guidelines on this extension shall be released soon by the concerned agency, he added.
Delayed collection woes
By extending the tax-payment deadline mandated under the Tax Code, collections of about P145 billion in taxes will be delayed, the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement Thursday.
The DOF warned that “these tax payments are crucial for the government to fund extremely urgent social protection and emergency health measures meant to effectively combat COVID-19 as well as to sustain state investments needed to help Filipino families regain stable and reliable sources of income at the soonest possible time.”
The delayed collections would be more than five times bigger than the government’s initial P27.1-billion economic package for COVID-19 response.
Several lawmakers also appealed for the extension of the ITR filing deadline as concerns were raised on the impact of the COVID-19 situation on Filipinos trying to meet the deadline.
The DOF said that the one-month relief for taxpayers was contained in a Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) issued by Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay on March 18.
A check on the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) website Thursday morning showed that the circular was not yet posted there, but Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel S.D. Guballa told the Inquirer that it was under RMC No. 28-2020.
“This emergency measure is being offered to provide relief to Filipino taxpayers who will not be able to prepare, let alone file, the necessary ITR documents on or before the original annual deadline of April 15 because of skeletal workforce arrangements and enhanced community quarantine rules that the national government has implemented to contain the pandemic,” the DOF said.
“This will give our people a chance to focus on their safety and the welfare of their family at this crucial time. After we overcome this health situation, we trust that they will faithfully fulfill their tax obligations,” Go said.
Finding other ways, going online
Still, the DOF and the BIR urged the public, especially “those who are able to file within the deadline or even as early as now to do so through mechanisms that have been made available by the BIR, including online filing and payment platforms.”
“There are more than 100 days between the start of the year and the original tax filing deadline of April 15 to prepare tax filing materials,” the DOF pointed out.
“Some taxpayers have prepared for this early. Those who are or will soon be ready are requested to file and contribute to the government’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and stimulate economic activity amid a possible growth slowdown. On behalf of the Filipino people, the Duterte administration expresses its gratitude to those who will perform their patriotic duty,” according to the DOF.
Extended deadline issues
On Wednesday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III would act on calls to extend the April 15 deadline for the annual filing ITR after the BRI earlier ruled out an extension despite the COVID-19 outbreak grappling the country.
Under Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 25-2020, issued by BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay on March 16, “the filing of the annual ITR for calendar year 2019 shall not be extended” despite a strict quarantine being implemented by the government over the entire Luzon.
Dominguez had also earlier maintained that the yearly April 15 deadline to file ITRs cannot be extended under the Tax Code or the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise.
The Philippines is also under a state of calamity amid the outbreak.
There are so far 202 positive COVID-19 patients in the Philippines.
Seventeen patients have died while seven have recovered.
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