THE Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a proposed measure that would simplify the process of paying taxes and strengthen taxpayers’ rights.
Authored by Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Senate Bill (SB) 2224, or the Ease of Paying Tax Act, aims to establish a tax-administration system that “will not only encourage taxpayers to pay their taxes truthfully and promptly but also facilitate a more efficient tax collection to fund various government programs.”
“It’s important to legislate a process by which we can make easier the lives of taxpayers because the funds we need to carry out vital programs for national progress come from them,” Gatchalian said in Filipino.
The measure, once enacted into law, will introduce administrative reforms that are expected to simplify tax compliance and strengthen taxpayer rights by amending certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
It also aims to “revolutionize” the current process of filing tax returns and paying taxes by allowing taxpayers to have the flexibility to file their returns and make payments at any Revenue District Office, or any authorized agent bank, regardless of whether it’s located within the jurisdiction of the RDO where they are registered.
According to Gatchalian, taxpayers must be allowed to settle estate tax and donor’s tax in any RDO. The latter is expected to “alleviate the burden placed on taxpayers who have to travel long distances or encounter logistical challenges to fulfill their tax obligations.”
The measure will also pave the way to institutionalize the use of digital filing and payment through any accredited payment channels or platforms. Gatchalian emphasized that the digitalization of filing tax returns and payment of taxes is expected to enhance compliance as it would make it easier and more convenient for taxpayers to fulfill their obligations.
Internet Transactions Act
ALSO on Monday, the Senate approved on third and final reading the Internet Transactions Act (ITA). The proposal intends to address several uncertainties encountered by both online consumers and businesses when buying and selling online.
The measure is also expected to provide an effective regulation for consumer protection in business-to-business and business-to-consumer Internet transactions.
With this, Gatchalian, its main sponsor, said both customers and merchants alike are expected “to enjoy better protection” when shopping online.
“It’s important to boost the confidence of our consumers and small businessmen through adequate protection mechanisms when they undertake various internet transactions because this is key to growing our economy,” Gatchalian said, partly in Filipino, following the chamber’s approval of SB 1846.
The measure, which creates an Electronic Commerce Bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry, was certified urgent by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
Gatchalian explained that the measure specifically intends to promote and maintain a robust e-commerce environment in the country by building trust between online merchants and consumers, recognizing the value and potential of the digital economy and the need to establish secure and reliable e-commerce platforms.
The lawmaker added that the measure lays down the rights, obligations and liabilities of the parties in Internet transactions, including the online consumer, online merchant and the digital platform or e-marketplace. It also empowers the DTI to take appropriate actions in response to any violations of the law’s provisions, particularly in the use of the internet for conducting e-commerce by e-marketplaces, online merchants, e-retailers, digital platforms and third-party platforms. It also provides for the establishment of an online dispute resolution mechanism for all stakeholders involved in Internet or e-commerce transactions.
The House of Representatives approved its own version of the proposed measure last December.
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