PUBLIC TRUST. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivers a speech during the National Tax Campaign kickoff at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, also graced by Finance Secretary Benjaimin Diokno (seated, left) and House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez, on Tuesday (Feb. 7, 2023). Marcos challenged the Bureau of Internal Revenue to further gain the confidence of the public by upholding the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and competence in the performance of their duties. (PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday challenged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials and employees to strengthen public trust and confidence in the country’s tax system.

“I also furthermore challenge the men and women of the BIR to work towards further gaining the confidence of the public in the tax system by upholding the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and competence in the performance of your duties,” he said in his speech during the 2023 Tax Campaign kickoff of the BIR at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City

He said his administration will always support the BIR’s aspiration of developing a country that is conducive for employment opportunities, financial investments, and institution-building.

Marcos also called on the public to pay the correct amount of taxes on time, saying it would be used to support the country’s post-pandemic recovery.

“I encourage the public to pay the correct amount of taxes on time to support the country’s economic recovery and expansion so critical in this time,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the public will continue to cooperate, collaborate and coordinate with the government on ways to improve the experience of the country’s tax collection system.

“I trust that our synergy will give rise to even more opportunities for growth, especially now that we are recovering from the adverse impacts of the global health crisis over the years,” he added.

BIR’s accomplishments

Marcos recognized the BIR for its efforts in raising the country’s revenue collection for 2022, especially in running after tax evaders.

Citing government data, he said 115 cases were filed with the Department of Justice amounting to PHP5.1 billion in tax liability, while 38 cases were filed with the Court of Tax Appeals amounting to an estimated PHP5.32 billion in estimated tax liability.

Seventy-four criminal complaints for tax evasion were filed with the DOJ, with about PHP3.58 billion in tax liability.

“Through these efforts to strengthen the imposition of administrative sanctions with the Oplan Kandado program, you have brought more than PHP550 million to the government coffers,” he said.

He also recognized the BIR for implementing its Tax Compliance Drive, which enabled the bureau to collect more than PHP250 million last year, which was double of what it was in 2021.

“That growth represents a remarkable 13 percent higher than the BIR’s own target of 3 percent for the year and covered around 5.2 million business taxpayers,” he said.

Marcos also lauded the BIR for harnessing technology to accomplish more efficient, effective and reliable tax collections through the Digitalization Transformation (DX Program).

“As we move forward to the future, the importance of utilizing modern and updated technology to ensure a more tax [efficient] collection becomes absolutely imperative. It is my hope that the Bureau will continue its commitment to pursuing and upgrading its digitalization programs,” he added.

Utilizing taxes

Meanwhile, Marcos reassured the public that the government will remain committed to managing and utilizing these contributions for the benefit of the country and for every Filipino.

He also vowed to ensure that every peso of taxes paid will become an “investment” in uplifting people’s quality of life.

“Together, let us join hands in building a more equitable, progressive, and prosperous society where every Filipino has the chance to improve their lives, pursue their aspirations, and contribute to the building of our nation,” he added.

In his first State of the Nation Address last year, Marcos said tax administration reforms will be in place to increase revenue collection as the economy is expected the grow by 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.

He said the country’s tax system will be adjusted in order to catch up with the rapid developments of the digital economy, including the imposition of value-added tax on digital service providers.

Earlier, the BIR said it aims to collect PHP2.6 trillion in revenues this year.

BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. said they raised the tax collection target by over PHP500 billion compared to 2022 target of PHP2.1 trillion. (PNA)