BIR asked to extend filing of ITRs

SENATOR Francis “Tol” Tolentino  urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to extend the deadline of filing the income tax returns from April 15 to a later date for  registered taxpayers in Metro Manila and other affected areas amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently declared the implementation of the community wide quarantine in Metro Manila and banned the land, water and air travel thereto from March 15 to April 14, subject to review.

“Kawawa naman ang ating mga kababayan na marahil ay mahina o wala nang kita dahil sa outbreak ng virus, lalo na kung nasa Metro Manila sila sa panahong ito. kaya kailangan iextend ang deadline ng filing ng income tax returns. This is to offer them relief as they will be reeling from the health, mobility and economic challenges during these times which will affect their ability to file their returns and pay their taxes,” said Tolentino, who  wrote a letter  to  BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay.

He noted that the COVID-19 outbreak may cause losses to the Philippine economy amounting to US$1.939 billion in its gross domestic product (GDP) and may result in the loss of up to 252,000 jobs, according to the recent report of the Asian Development Bank on “The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Developing Asia.” In particular, the country’s tourism industry is set to lose P42.9 billion due to COVID-19, with its supporting industries - the hotel, restaurant and retail - also struggling to stay afloat.

“It is my firm belief that the Government has the responsibility to aid our overburdened taxpayers who continue to shoulder the brunt of the outbreak’s impact on the market. An extension would be a sigh of relief that could spell a huge difference to struggling individuals and businesses,” Tolentino said.

Under the law, the National Internal Revenue Code, the deadline for the filing of the income tax return is set on or before April 15 of each year. However, it also provides that in meritorious cases, the BIR Commissioner may grant a reasonable extension of time for filing returns of income.

“With the current situation, there is also a possibility of gathering a large number of people on the day of the deadline of filing tax returns, which poses a health risk. As such, this is a meritorious case that calls for an extension,” said Tolentino, adding  that there are nearly 12 million people living in Metro Manila.

He  said other countries, such as Italy and China, have already extended the deadlines for the filing of their tax returns to offer relief to their taxpayers. 

On the other hand, in the United Kingdom and in the State of California, they allow employees and companies affected by COVID-19 to apply for an extension of the period as long as certain requirements are met. 

Moreover, the United States federal government is currently considering the proposal to move its tax filing deadline to ease the economic strains brought about by the global outbreak.