The Department of Finance (DOF) said about 1.43 million annual income tax returns (AITRs) for 2020 were filed online this year, accounting for almost 100 percent of the total number of AITRs.
A report from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) revealed that only 7,139 2020 AITRs were manually filed from January 1 to the April 15 deadline this year, according to the DOF.
The bureau’s electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) and electronic BIR Forms systems processed 1,430,470 AITRs, accounting for 99.5 percent of all AITRs.
The BIR is speeding up its digitalization activities to make tax compliance more straightforward and accessible to the public, the Finance department stressed.
“We are starting to reap the benefits of our continued digitalization efforts that aim to make tax compliance easier, more accessible, and more convenient for the public,” BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said in the report.
According to preliminary figures, BIR e-channel collections totaled P573 billion this year, accounting for 83 percent of the total P689 billion collected as of April 30.
There were 496,590 e-payers as of April 30 this year, or taxpayers who paid their internal revenue taxes through the BIR’s eFPS, or Electronic Fund Transfer Instructions System, and other e-payment channels.
Early figures show this is a 535 percent increase, or 418,472, over the 78,118 e-payers in 2015.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, for one, lauded the BIR for offering speedy and error-free electronic filing and payment of ITRs this year, encouraging more taxpayers to fulfill their civic duty of paying taxes despite mobility restrictions posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The BIR plans to complete the introduction of its Internal Revenue Integrated System, which will serve as the agency’s principal tool and repository for processing taxpayer data, by the fourth quarter of 2021, in order to speed its digital transition.
The bureau has also released the Taxpayer Identification Number Verifier App, as well as an online application for tax clearance for bidding purposes and a certificate of tax compliance verification.
Beginning this year, taxpayers can also book online appointments with revenue authorities to discuss tax-related issues using the eAppointments application.
BY MEYNARD DELA CERNA