As featured on PhilStar: Making tax time easier
The world is becoming more digital, and people are now engaged in a variety of virtual activities on a daily basis. Fortunately, these activities include the filing of income taxes. The electronic BIR Forms or eBIRForms was developed to provide taxpayers particularly the non-eFPS (Electronic Filing and Payment System) filers with accessible and convenient service through easy preparation of tax returns. Through eBIRForms, taxpayers can directly encode data, validate it, and submit tax returns online and then receive a confirmation email from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). According to Revenue Regulation (RR) No. 6-2014 Section 4, those who shall file a “No Payment” Return has mandatory coverage.
Earlier this year, the BIR released Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 32-2023 which provides guidelines in the filing of annual income tax returns (AITRs) for tax year 2022. As provided in the issuance, “No Payment AITRs” shall be filed electronically through the eBIRForms. Thus, taxpayers no longer need to file “No Payment AITRs” manually and may file their tax returns conveniently from the comfort of their own homes eliminating the hassle of queuing for long hours to complete their annual tax filing requirements.
However, from a global mobility standpoint, there may still be a need for a manually stamped “Received” tax return for expatriates’ home country tax filings, immigration compliance and other personal transactions.
The BIR subsequently issued RMC No. 61-2023 which sets forth the general procedures in the processing of a taxpayer’s request for stamping of electronically filed income tax returns through the eBIRForms. Although the RMC was issued after the tax year 2022 filing deadline, it can be used as a basis on what to expect for the next tax filing season.
Under RMC No. 61-2023, Revenue District Offices (RDOs) may still manually stamp electronically filed AITRs for requesting taxpayers who can provide a letter request, with attached supporting documents, stating the need for their respective returns to be manually stamped “Received” by the BIR. This additional requirement may become an extra burden to taxpayers who need to secure manually filed returns as their supporting documents may not be readily available and may take some time to obtain. Taxpayers are thus encouraged to allot more than the usual time and cost for the preparation of these requirements. Furthermore, the BIR has yet to issue guidelines on what information and specific documents will be acceptable for them.
While this new process will bring additional work for certain taxpayers, this will enable the BIR to cut down the processing time for the recording of data from manually filed returns into their system and avoid duplication of data submitted to the BIR. The online filing platform also provides more accurate tax returns for its users as it automatically computes for the taxes due based on the information provided.
A fully online tax filing system allows the BIR to keep up with the developments and innovations that other countries have put in place in terms of tax return filing. Likewise, a special tax issuance, such as RMC No. 61-2023, offers flexibility in the tax filing manner depending on the taxpayer’s requirements. These mechanisms make our country more accommodating to both foreign and local taxpayers as they bring a more convenient, and efficient tax filing procedure.
Guimalyn B. Bobiles
KPMG in the Philippines