Sunday, February 20, 2011

How can the BIR increase collections?

At present, we read on papers the many faces of financial crisis, budget deficit, failure to meet collection target, and the likes. Philippines in on a budgetary system where collections and expenditures are budgeted ahead. Expenditure is quite easy to meet as they simply spend on many things and in many ways, while collection targets are quite hard to attain. Instead of simply reading them, what about if we try to explore on ways and means where in our thinking, could help the BIR reach their targets.

Presently, the legislature had passed some tax measures providing for some incentives that may negatively affect reaching collection targets along with some other updates tending to slow collections. I am referring to RA 9593-Tourism Act of 2009, RA 9442 - amendment to the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, RA 9648 - DST Tax Exemption, reduction on amusement taxes to 10%, the MCIT case resolutions of PAL, transitional input tax issue of FBDC, and the MIAA real property tax case resolution this 2009. In short, the BIR is finding some measures in which it can raise collections as the target had been set to be attained despite all that. Moreso, that as we read on the papers, the senate says NO to tax measures imposing and creating new taxes which means NO helpline to BIR.

One of its (BIR) move is the expansion of the Top Ten Thousand Corporation (TTC) for mandatory withholding to Top Twenty Thousand Corporations. Wider coverage would mean a wider advance collection of income and more encouragement to payees of income payments to declare income and pay related taxes. Another notable introduction is the Top Five Thousand Individuals (TFI) for those individuals engaged in trade or business and those in the practice of profession meeting certain criteria set for the purpose. For those newly appointed TTC or TFI, these new regulations may not be simple to comply as they add some administrative duties. However, we cannot put the blame on BIR on this. Should they not comply, then, penalties are at stake. Other moves are on improved BIR assessments, and computerized matching so taxpayers are being surprised by some yearly assessments and left and right tax verification notices. In effect they are extracting for the taxpayer's last drop of tax liabilities.

The idea of what can the BIR do to improve collection had been lingering on my mind and it is only on this post that I took the courage to formalize and share with the rest what I have in mind. In the meantime, what about if the BIR applies the same principle of withholding tax on GAMBLING, like on cockfighting winning bets? For some this is simply a past time or a hobby, but we must admit many lives on it. I do not participate on cockfighting but my understanding is the admin gets commission every time the bet wins. yes, the winning is a taxable income, but who knows if this income is being declared and tax paid. In the same manner, losses from gambling is a capital loss that is not deducted from income tax purposes. This may seem weird and maybe hard to implement at first not because of its complexities, but maybe because of some influential personalities who has the love of it that may simply use power to go against it. However, looking at it and considering the volume of money flowing in and out of the cockfighting industry every Sunday, special holidays and scheduled derby, I am quite confident that tax collections from this may mean something. If they could waste money on this past time, why not share a portion of this for taxes?

You may have something in mind that may also help the BIR improve collection. We would be pleased and honored to hear it from you. Simply drop a line below and we will try to submit our collective ideas to the BIR.

"Taxes affect lives, care for taxes and save lives"


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