BIR told: Ease rules for April 15 tax deadline

March 21, 2020

The House Ways and Means Committee has recommended to the Bureau of Internal Revenue  the easing up of requirements for the April 15 income tax filing deadline amid the existing community quarantine measures to fight Covid-19.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda who chairs the committee, said the panel is also asking the BIR to waive government penalties on late filing, up to May 4, this year.

The recommendations are contained in an aide memoire he has sent to the House leadership, detailing measures to boost the economy and provide relief to tax payers amid the paralyzing Covid-19 threats.

The BIR, Salceda said, should provide taxpayers with administrative relief, such as waiving the penalties for filing tax returns beyond the April 15 deadline. said Salceda.

“While the April 15 deadline is written in the law, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue can make exceptions in meritorious cases. That’s in the tax code. I understand the Secretary of Finance’s said they are constrained, but they have options,” he noted.

“We can extend the deadline, or we can temporarily waive the consequences of failing to meet the deadline, which are penalties and surcharges. It makes sense to do either,”  he added.

The Bicolano lawmaker said the BIR’s electronic filing and payment system will also help avoid face-to-face interactions.

“The Large Taxpayer Service allows electronic filing. That’s around 30 to 40 thousand companies, and accounts for around 68 percent of the revenue the BIR generates. We should ensure that the taxpayers’ experience is easy, so that both individual and small taxpayers can navigate the system,” he explained.

Salceda said the government is already doing that by facilitating the legislative side of the BIR’s digital transformation.

“It appears we are now compelled to fast-track it. Definitely, it will help to extend the deadline and boost the electronic channels. We are now also working with the Finance Department and the BIR to see what other options are feasible,” he added, assuring that “there are options to either extend the tax filing deadline or ease up the reference date of the penalty consequence, and that either way works.”

The Albay solon said the House Ways and Means has proposed the tax deadline extension as part of a 199 billion package of measures that seek to boost the economy and compensate for possible welfare and economic losses due to the Covid-19 onslaught. He said he will file the spending portion of the package, called “the Filipino Families First Act of 2020” shortly.