Simplify tax filing, Angara tells BIR
Senator Sonny Angara called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Monday to make it easier for Filipinos, especially for small taxpayers, to pay their taxes correctly.
Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, made the call a week before the April 17 deadline for filing of income tax returns (ITRs). Late filing, he said, would incur a 20-percent interest per annum penalty and another 25-percent surcharge on the tax due.
“Matagal na nating panawagan, kasabay ng pagbaba ng buwis, na gawing simple ang forms and procedures ng pagbabayad ng buwis. The BIR should always be ready, equipped and accommodating in offering assistance to both large and small taxpayers so they can properly comply with our tax process,” he said in a statement.
The senator urged taxpayers to avoid the rush on the 17th so they would have ample time to rectify incorrect ITRs within the deadline to avoid penalties.
To help address the difficulties faced by Filipinos in paying taxes, Angara has filed Senate Bill No. 132 that seeks to establish a Taxpayer Assistance Service within the BIR to answer queries and guide taxpayers on how to efficiently deal with their tax-related problems and concerns.
The Taxpayer Assistance Service is mandated, under the bill, “to prepare, publicize and circulate policies, programs, standards, guidelines and procedures relative to public information and education programs on taxation.”
“Tax collection would increase if we improve tax compliance. Tax compliance would improve if we reduce the tax rates, and lessen the complexity and intricacy of our tax code,” the senator said.
Instead of making tax payment “cumbersome,” Angara said the government must provide taxpayers with free and accessible professional assistance.
“We should encourage Filipinos contribute in building the country through their taxes. Instead of making tax payment cumbersome, we must provide taxpayers with free and accessible professional assistance. The Taxpayer Assistance Service would render the first layer of services that every Filipino taxpayer needs and deserves,” he said.
The senator has also filed Senate Bill No. 308, which would put in place a charter on taxpayer rights, and create a National Taxpayer Advocate Office that would protect taxpayers against harassment and corrupt practices of some officers and employees of the BIR.
“These measures aim to reduce bureaucratic red tape, and to safeguard the rights of taxpayers who are entrusting a significant share of their hard-earned money to the hands of the government. In return, it is our hope that all taxpayers will be more truthful and timely in the filing and payment of tax dues,” he added.
Angara noted that this year, the BIR has a target collection of P1.83 trillion to fund the administration’s massive infrastructure projects. Last year, the agency collected P1.57 trillion or 97 percent of its P1.62-trillion target. CBB/rga
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