BIR-Bicol surpasses 2017 tax collection target

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY -- The year 2017 was a fruitful one for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Bicol as it collected a total of PHP10.7 billion, surpassing its target of PHP9.1 billion.

"Almost all of our Revenue District Offices (RDO) attained their respective collection targets for 2017,"Mary Jane Asuncion, BIR officer-in-charge and assistant regional director for Bicol, said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) after the launch of the region’s tax awareness campaign dubbed, "Salamat Sa 'Yo", earlier this week.

“For January 2018, we were able to realize a PHP1.1 billion collection, surpassing our PHP784.7 million goal for the month and 17.22 percent or PHP174 million over our collection for the same period last year,” Asuncion said.

Of the BIR’s seven district offices in the region, RDO No. 67 covering Legazpi City topped the collection performance for the month of January with PHP447 million, marking a 10.42 percent increase compared to the PHP404.8 million collected in January 2017.

RDO 65, which covers Naga City, placed second for collecting PHP298.9 million, which is 26.16 percent higher than January 2017’s PHP237 million.

RDO 68, which covers Sorsogon City, ranked third with a collection of PHP140.85 million, 41.26 percent more than the PHP99.7 million collected in January last year.

The fourth top performer was RDO 70 in Masbate City, with PHP92.694 million.

"We really recognize the efforts of the BIR personnel for their professionalism and competence," Asuncion said, expressing optimism that more could be achieved in the coming months with the continued cooperation of taxpayers and tax agents and the collaborative efforts of revenue officials to pursue their thrusts for a strong republic.

This year’s collection target for Bicol was set at PHP12.1 billion.

For her part, lawyer Lorna Cruz, chief legal officer of BIR-Bicol, explained the importance and benefits of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

"The objective of this law, primarily is to alleviate poverty so that we can compete globally. In fact, one of the effects of the law is giving an exemption on withholding tax for those receiving PHP250,000 and below per annum. This will increase take-home money and bonuses," Cruz said.

The lawyer clarified, however, that the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), which was last amended in 1997, is still in effect.

"Some of the provisions in the NIRC were amended, not the entire revenue code and we are expecting that the taxation law will definitely be affected by the said amendments," Cruz added.

BIR-Bicol is set to conduct seminars and training courses to inform the public of the importance and benefits of the new law.

Meanwhile, the "Salamat Sa 'Yo" campaign acknowledges the public's contribution to the economy through the taxes they pay.

"Instead of explicitly asking the general public to pay taxes, we in BIR acknowledge their (public) contribution for the change that has come," Asuncion said.

The contribution of every taxpaying individual to nation-building has a ripple effect, she said, noting that while each tax contribution is small, its effect goes a long way.

According to the official, the BIR, as the lifeblood of the government, needs taxes to continue government programs and projects that benefit the people. (PNA)