Manila Bulletin

300 BIR per­son­nel opt to re­sign, re­tire

- By BEN R. ROSARIO Business · Taxes · Politics · Retirement · Employment · Society · Philippines · New Zealand · Manila · Japan · Washington Metropolitan Area · Congress of the United States · United Nations · U.S. Internal Revenue Service · House Committee on Ways and Means · Japan International Cooperation Agency

Bureau of In­ter­nal Rev­enue (BIR) Com­mis­sioner Cae­sar Du­lay yes­ter­day re­vealed that the ap­pli­ca­tions for op­tional re­tire­ment or res­ig­na­tion of some 300 rev­enue of­fi­cials and per­son­nel are al­ready be­ing pro­cessed as part of his bid to cleanse the rev­enue agency and en­sure tax col­lec­tion ef­fi­ciency.

This was gath­ered dur­ing the House Com­mit­tee on Ways and Means hear­ing on the pend­ing Com­pre­hen­sive Tax Re­form bill.

Ap­pear­ing at the hear­ing

presided over by Quirino Rep. Dax Cua, Du­lay told con­gress­men that in the past seven months the graft is­sue that has hounded BIR has started to ta­per off.

The House panel is cur­rently hold­ing a hear­ing

“We are slowly work­ing on the bad eggs when I sug­gested that they ei­ther re­sign or take ad­van­tage of their op­tional re­tire­ment,” he said.

Du­lay said warn­ings he had is­sued against the so-called bad eggs was clearly what trig­gered at least 300 BIR per­son­nel to file their res­ig­na­tion or by tak­ing ad­van­tage of op­tional re­tire­ment.

Apart from call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion and re­tire­ment of erring per­son­nel, Du­lay has re­vamped key posts in the agency.

“We are aware on the prob­lem of graft in the agency. I’m happy to share that we are slowly ad­dress­ing the is­sue,” he said.

“Through the months, I have also seen the pro­fes­sion­al­ism and com­pe­tence of the per­son­nel and bureau. We are slowly work­ing on bad eggs. I sug­gested that they ei­ther re­sign or take ad­van­tage of their op­tional re­tire­ment,” he said.

He as­sured law­mak­ers that tax col­lec­tion ef­fi­ciency will con­tinue to im­prove, point­ing out that this has al­ready been felt with a “pretty good” 18 per­cent in­crease in rev­enue col­lec­tion.

In the same hear­ing, Du­lay re­vealed that the tax agency has cre­ated a tech­ni­cal work­ing group to ad­dress pos­si­ble is­sues that may arise dur­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of e-in­voice and e-re­ceipt.

“The pro­posed amend­ments are very help­ful in terms of rev­enue gen­er­a­tion and for our part we are ready to im­ple­ment what­ever pro­vi­sions are fi­nally ap­proved,” he said.

Through the Joint For­eign Cham­bers of the Philip­pines, for­eign busi­ness­men also called for the “max­i­mum use of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy” to ad­dress the wors­en­ing traf­fic sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try.

The JFC, a coali­tion of Amer­i­can, Aus­tralian-New Zealand, Cana­dian, Euro­pean, Ja­panese, and South Korean busi­ness groups, sub­mit­ted its stand on House Bill 4774 pro­posed by the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“While we do not know how much of the traf­fic in­volves mov­ing pa­per in­voices and of­fi­cial re­ceipts be­tween busi­nesses and their clients, we be­lieve that en­cour­ag­ing the max­i­mum use of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is an im­por­tant pol­icy to eas­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion,” the for­eign cham­bers said in a po­si­tion pa­per on the CTRP.

“The [Duterte] ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­ter­mined that there is a traf­fic emer­gency in Manila and Cebu and re­quested emer­gency pow­ers to im­ple­ment solutions,” the group added.

The Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency es­ti­mated the daily cost of traf­fic in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion at 12.4 bil­lion.

The joint cham­ber of for­eign busi­ness­men urged Congress to con­sider its pro­posal amend­ing Sec­tion 113 of the Na­tional In­ter­nal Rev­enue Code (NIRC) by adding a new para­graph.

In their pro­posal, the cham­bers said the NIRC pro­vi­sion should read: “The use of e-in­voice and e-re­ceipt shall be­come manda­tory within five years of en­act­ment of this law, re­gard­less of whether or not they are part of a com­put­er­ized ac­count­ing sys­tem.”

“Tax­pay­ers are no longer re­quired to sub­mit tra­di­tional hard copy (pa­per copy) of their in­voice or of­fi­cial re­ceipt with any com­pli­ance re­quire­ments of the Bureau of In­ter­nal Rev­enue. The BIR shall sim­plify the in­voic­ing and re­ceipt­ing data re­quired of the tax­payer by only re­quir­ing name and Tax Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Num­ber. The BIR may ex­empt tax­pay­ers from this re­quire­ment if they can demon­strate suf­fi­cient rea­sons for non-com­pli­ance,” the JFC pro­posed amend­ment stated.

The cham­bers un­der­scored the sig­nif­i­cance of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy in eas­ing busi­ness trans­ac­tions in the coun­try.

“The Philip­pines should clearly do more, as mea­sured by the United Na­tions e-gov­er­nance sur­vey. In 2003, the coun­try ranked 33rd of 193 coun­tries rated, but in 2016 had fallen to 71st of 193 coun­tries,” the JFC state­ment said.

“Slow adap­ta­tion of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy by gov­ern­ment in its in­ter­ac­tions with the pub­lic is re­flected in these rank­ings,” the for­eign groups added.

Cur­rently, the gov­ern­ment al­lows the use of e-in­voic­ing un­der ex­ist­ing rev­enue reg­u­la­tions.

“[How­ever] in­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing the use of e-in­voice in def­i­nitely a step to­ward the right di­rec­tion given the move to dig­i­tize all in­for­ma­tion,” the busi­ness groups said.

The JFC rep­re­sents over 3,000 mem­ber com­pa­nies en­gaged in over $100 bil­lion worth of trade and some $30 bil­lion worth of in­vest­ments in the Philip­pines.

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