MANILA – Taxpayers can now file their 2019 income tax returns (ITR) in the comfort of their homes as the government boosts its response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) encouraged taxpayers to file and pay their 2019 ITRs before the April 15 deadline through its “offline eBIR forms package version 7.6” available on its website http://www.bir.gov.ph.
“This package is a home-based application that offers convenience to taxpayers and ensures correct computation of tax dues. So, in the convenience of your homes, you can file your income tax returns,” BIR Collection Service Head Revenue Executive Assistant Rosario Padilla said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.
Padilla said taxpayers can easily download the forms, work on them at their convenience, and later go back to upload them online.
After filing the digital form, she said taxpayers can pay their taxes through ePayment channel partners PayMaya, GCash, LBP LinkBiz ATM/Debit Cards, DBP Tax Online Credit/ATM/Debit Cards, or eFPS filers.
“Hindi na natin sila kinakailangan pang papuntahin ang ating mga taxpayers at pumila sa bangko or makipag salamuha sa mga (We no longer need to require our taxpayers to queue up in banks and interact with) collection agents. So, whether it’s big or small puwede na tayo magbayad (we can already pay) in the convenience or whenever you are convenient using your apps,” Padilla said.
She said there will be tax filing assistance centers set up starting March 28 at all BIR Revenue District Offices (RDOs) to assist all taxpayers relative to electronic filing and payment inquiries and concerns.
“Para hindi sila magkumpulan sa iisang lugar lang (So they don’t gather in one area only),” Padilla said.
There will also be eLounges in all RDOs available for online filers.
She said the National Training Center, located at the BIR National Office, BIR Road, Diliman, Quezon City, is also open from March 28 to April 15, including two consecutive Saturdays (March 28 and April 4) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for taxpayers who are registered at Revenue Region 5-Caloocan City, Revenue Region 6-Manila, Revenue Region 7A-Quezon City, Revenue Region 7B-East NCR, Revenue Region 8A-Makati City, and Revenue Region 8B-South NCR.
There will also be an extension for authorized agent banks (AABs) hours until 5 p.m. from April 1 to 15 in line with the tax filing season. They are also open on the two consecutive Saturdays to accept tax payments within their areas of jurisdiction.
Padilla also urged taxpayers to pay early to avoid rushing and practice how filing is done online.
Taxpayers who file their income tax returns late will be required to pay for penalties, she said.
Penalties for late filing include a 25 percent surcharge of the tax due plus 12 percent interest per annum (from the payment deadline until the amount is fully paid), and a corresponding compromise penalty, on top of the income tax due.
Padilla, however, said there is no word of extending the deadline of filing ITRs despite the Covid-19 threat, especially in areas where there is confirmed local transmission.
“That’s why we are making the campaign now to please file early because as of now, there are no pronouncements of any extension. The deadline stays on April 15, 2020,” she said.
Padilla encouraged the use of online facilities, but noted that the BIR is not in the position to say if there would be a possible deadline extension.
“These packages are available to any taxpayer who would like to pay online so we are expecting (that) we will be having lesser over the counter filing and payment,” she said.
BIR Assistant Commissioner Elenita Quimosing, however, said taxpayers could still file their taxes in authorized agent banks.
To date, Padilla said the Covid-19 outbreak has not negatively affected the collection of tax revenues for January and February.
The BIR’s tax take breached the PHP2-trillion mark for the first time in 2019.
BIR data showed that it collected PHP2.17 trillion in taxes in 2019, up 10.7 percent from PHP1.96 trillion in 2018. (PNA)