President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday encouraged Filipinos to pay the correct taxes critical to the government and moving the economy, as the Bureau of Internal Revenue promised to go after tax evaders during the BIR’s 2023 National Tax Campaign Kickoff at the PICC Complex in Pasay City.
“I also furthermore challenge the men and women of the BIR to work towards further gaining the confidence of the public in the tax system by upholding the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and competence in the performance of your duties,” Mr. Marcos said.
The President said taxes are important to revive the economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I assure the BIR that this administration will always give support in your aspiration of developing a country that is conducive for employment opportunities, financial investments, and institution-building,” the President stressed.
Mr. Marcos also expressed his confidence that Filipinos will continue to cooperate, collaborate, and coordinate with the government in improving the tax collection system.
Public cooperation will result in more opportunities for growth, “especially now that the country is recovering from the adverse impacts of the global health crisis,” he said.
The President assured the people that the government will remain committed to managing and utilizing their contributions for the benefit of the country.
He acknowledged BIR’s accomplishments last year, particularly the intensified implementation of the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE), which resulted in the filing of 15 cases with the Department of Justice (DOJ) amounting to P5.1 billion in tax liability.
This is in addition to 38 cases filed with the Court of Tax Appeals (CA) amounting to an estimated P5.32 billion in estimated tax liability.
Just recently, 74 criminal complaints for tax evasion were filed before the Department of Justice, with about P3.58 billion in tax liabilities.
Through the agency’s “Oplan Kandado” program, the BIR has brought more than P550 million to the government repository, the President said.
The BIR has likewise broadened the country’s tax base through the aggressive Tax Compliance Drive, which enabled it to collect more than P250 million in 2022, doubling the collection compared with the previous year.
This growth is a remarkable increase—13 percent higher than the BIR’s own target of 3 percent for the year and covered around 5.2 million business taxpayers, according to the President. Vince Lopez
Mr. Marcos also commended the BIR for harnessing the power of modern technology to accomplish more efficient, effective, and reliable tax collections through the Digitalization Transformation or DX Program.
This includes the implementation of the Internal Revenue Integrated System; one-time transaction or the eONETT [E-O-NET] system; Interactive chatbot “Revie”; automated system for Monitoring and Managing Administrative Cases; and an Enhanced Internal Revenue Stamps Integrated System for tobacco products, alcohol, and sweetened beverages.
“As we move forward to the future, the importance of utilizing modern and updated technology to ensure a more [efficient] tax collection becomes absolutely imperative. It is my hope that the Bureau will continue its commitment to pursuing and upgrading its digitalization programs,” the President noted.
For his part, BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui, Jr. said their enforcement activities will continue against those who continue to dodge their taxes.
It was important, Lumagui said, that his agency forms a culture “in which taxpayers feel that the tax authority is on their side.”
“Against tax evaders: we will not stop with our hardline stance. We will not hesitate to prosecute erring taxpayers,” said the BIR chief.
“We will continue to go after illicit traders. We will charge producers and users of fake receipts,” he added.
The BIR’s activities, Lumagui noted, include bolstering operations to gather “a huge pot of uncollected taxes which escaped the public through fraud or illegal activities.”