THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is optimistic of hitting its P3.046-trillion collection target next year on the back of more aggressive efforts to curb tax leakages and improve efficiency through digitalization of its services.
BIR Commissioner Romeo
D. Lumagui Jr. said the bureau has already lined-up the measures and programs that it would implement to be able to reach its collection target for 2024, which is P407 billion higher than its P2.639-trillion goal this year.
On top of its list, the BIR is preparing for the collection of taxes on online or digital transactions by strengthening its dialogue with the online platforms and online sellers.
Last month, the BIR disclosed its plan to start collecting a 1-percent withholding tax from online sellers by the fourth quarter of the year.
Under the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the BIR is set to collect about P107.52 billion from new and expanded tax measures next year, including nearly P17 billion from value added tax (VAT) on digital service providers.
Lumagui said the bureau is also looking to expand its manpower, but noted that it would be challenging since creating additional plantilla items would undergo government scrutiny and processes.
“We are hoping to be able to [create more plantilla items]. It is having a growing business wherein you need additional employees to address [the growing needs]. Right now the number of taxpayers is constantly increasing but the number of [BIR] personnel is not,” he told reporters in a recent interview.
Nonetheless, the BIR will fast-track its digitalization efforts with the goal of cutting by half the number of physical transactions done at its offices before the year ends, Lumagui said.
“If we cannot hire more people, then [we will push for] automation [of] processes through digital transformation which will help us address the lack of manpower,” he added.
Lumagui explained that the BIR plans to migrate some of its transactions to online to remove the need for taxpayers to transact physically in their respective offices.
“Hopefully we can reduce the physical transactions by half. The problem is that even if online services are available, sometimes the taxpayers still want to go to our offices and refuse to use the online services because they are still comfortable [transacting] with people [physically],” he said.
The BIR chief said plugging the gap in its excise tax collections remains a priority since the government is unable to capture about 20 percent of the total collections.
“We are targeting to minimize that 20 percent. I am sure we will be able to cut that by more than half this year,” Lumagui said.
“We are aggressive in all our enforcement activities,” Lumagui added.
One measure that BIR will do to boost its excise tax collections, particularly on vapor products, is to require importers and manufacturers of juices used in vape products to secure an Authority to Release Imported Goods (ATRIG) from the BIR, he said.
The issuance of an ATRIG would allow the BIR to monitor and regulate the importation of raw materials used in the production of vape juices, Lumagui explained.
ATRIG is a licensing document imposed by the government through the BIR on imported products that are required to pay excise tax prior to the release of the shipments to the domestic market.