BIR INTERNET LOUNGES. Mayor Lino Montilla (left) and Revenue Region 18 Director Rodrigo Rivamonte (2nd right) leads the ribbon-cutting of the first-ever Bureau of Internal Revenue eLounge (inset) in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, on Thursday (March 17, 2022). Another eLounge facility for the online filing of their income tax return (ITR) and tax payment was also launched on the same day in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat. (Photo courtesy of Pat Diaz Jr. – BIR-RR 18)

KORONADAL CITY – Taxpayers in the city of Tacurong and the nearby town of Isulan in Sultan Kudarat province need not go far for the online filing of their income tax return (ITR) and tax payment with the opening Thursday of the “BIR eLounge.”

Aileen Punzalan, the BIR Revenue 109 district officer, said in an interview that they have established the first-ever “BIR eLounge” project outside BIR offices in the country, in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the two local government units (LGUs).

The BIR eLounge facility is seen to improve the efficiency of taxpayer service using information and communication technology.

“The BIR has installed a system in computers provided by the DICT, LGU, and DTI so that the taxpayers can file and pay their ITR online and need not go to the bank or BIR offices to file it manually,” Punzalan said in an interview.

She said the facilities are now operational inside the Tacurong City Hall, and also the Isulan town hall, both in the province, to encourage the taxpayers to avail of the BIR’s online service and speed up transaction.

“We have functional computers with internet connection for online payments initially in Tacurong City and Isulan town, both in Sultan Kudarat province, “ she said.

For the convenience of more taxpayers, Punzalan said they are also planning to establish eLounge facilities in all LGUs in Sultan Kudarat.

“I will be meeting the regional director of the DICT, I will ask them if they can provide infra in all municipalities under revenue district 109,” she said.

She said the new filing system also seeks to address the concern of the BIR's authorized bank agent of the that many taxpayers in Sultan Kudarat are still paying their taxes manually, even if they can do it through the online system.

Punzalan said although they encourage the taxpayers to transact online, many of them are still filing their ITR and paying their taxes manually because of lack of access to computers and internet connections.

“We need to establish more eLounge to make the online transaction easier for them,” she said.

Punzalan also appealed to the taxpayers to file their ITR and pay the correct taxes before the April 18 deadline.

“Let us be an example of a modern-day hero by paying our correct taxes because the taxes that we pay are for the future of our children,” she added. (PNA)