A ranking House member on Tuesday, April 14, criticized the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for unduly burdening taxpayers by making them file their annual income tax returns (ITRs) twice, first manually or before April 15, and then electronically re-file these on or before June 15.
“Taxpayers deserve the best service from BIR. The new electronic filing system, just like any other IT system, suffers from glitches and implementation wrinkles. Instead of ironing out these creases, BIR even went further by forbidding manual filing. It seems the BIR is very heartless and insensitive by stubbornly insisting on the April 15 deadline,” said Gunigundo.
Amid the confusion created by the BIR’s earlier order for taxpayers filing “No Payment” returns to do this electronically, the agency issued on April 10, 2015 Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 18-2015 providing that in order for the Bureau to focus on ITRs with payments, “No Payment” Returns may be filed manually on or before April 15, 2015 and such returns filed manually shall be re-filed electronically on or before June 15, 2015.
The deferral of filing online is only for “no payment returns” of entities, individual or judicial according to the BIR.
“The new BIR regulation doubly burdens tax filers since they will file their ITRs manually first and subsequently electronically,” said Gunigundo, a lawyer and former chief of the Special Anti-Smuggling Unit of the Office of the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from 1992 to 1996.
He said it would be prudent for the BIR to leave to tax filers the matter of choosing whether to file their annual ITRs manually or electronically. He said manual filing should not be discarded especially since not all tax filers are familiar or have access to electronic filing.
Gunigundo said even countries with advanced technology are still using manual filing. “Singapore, South Korea and Japan in spite of their advanced technology, have not done away with manual filing in order not to unduly burden taxpayers who have no financial capability to do electronic filing,” said Gunigundo.
Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 18-2015 provides that penalties imposed under Revenue Regulation 5-2015 on filing using a mode/venue different from that prescribed shall be waived provided the subject ITRs have been re-submitted electronically in the BIR’s systems on or before June 15, 2015.
Under RR No. 5-2015, issued by the BIR on March 15, 2015, all taxpayers mandatorily covered to file their returns using eFPS or eBIRForms who fail to do so shall be imposed a penalty of P1,000 per return pursuant to Section 250 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997, as amended.
In addition, the taxpayer shall also be imposed civil penalties equivalent to 25 percent of tax due to be paid, for filing a return in a manner not in compliance with existing regulations.