Jan 222015

FILING SEASON for income taxes has begun, a BIR official said.  (SUN.sTAR FILE)

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue 13 has been given a collection target of P25.9 billion this year, about 25 percent higher than last year’s target.

BIR-13 Director Hermeno Palamine admitted that he is anxious about the amount, noting that even last year’s goal was difficult to achieve.

While he believes they have met last year’s target, he could not furnish Sun.Star Cebu with the official collection report as some payments made through the banks have not yet been reflected in their system. The BIR-13 shutdown their system from Dec. 16 to Jan. 5 for routine maintenance and clearing of unused files. However, unofficially, they are sure that the collection target has been met.

Palamine, though, said that whether or not they hit the target, goals set by the central office are always much higher than the previous year’s goal.

Palamine also met with his revenue district officers Tuesday and has instructed them to pay close attention to income taxes filed by establishments that have a tendency to draw large crowds during the holidays and the Sinulog.

He explained that when they checked taxes paid for the months of January, some establishments did not show significant increases in incomes. He said that just roaming around Cebu City in the run up to the Sinulog would show otherwise. He pointed out that restaurants, cafés and bars are mostly full while hotels, resorts, inns and pension houses are fully booked.

Palamine said he created Task Force Traveler’s Haven to keep a close eye on such establishments and make sure they are complying with their tax requirements. While they started working on this last year yet, Palamine said the increases were not as substantial and he admits, he was not satisfied. He acknowledged that they do not have enough personnel to concentrate on this, as the task force is composed of members who have existing duties in the revenue district offices and other divisions.

BIR-13 Legal Division Chief Neri Yu, for his part, added that the underground economy during the Sinulog is also more difficult to track down as many entrepreneurs merely set up stalls and tables along the streets and peddle their wares during the festival.

They are studying how best to address this, saying legitimate business owners complain to them to that they face competition from such enterprises that do not pay taxes.

Palamine also hopes to remind taxpayers that the filing season has begun. Although the deadline for filing of income taxes is on April 15 yet, he is encouraging taxpayers to file their income taxes early so they don’t have to contend with the long lines as the deadline approaches. They will officially kick off their campaign for the filing on March 19.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 23, 2015.

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