The Department of Finance (DOF) is set to enter into negotiations with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for a possible grant for the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) digital transformation program. 

In a statement, the DOF said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has authorized the department to talk with the USTDA for a possible $809,450, or about P39-million, grant for the Philippines’ main tax agency.

A Special Authority was given by the President designating and authorizing Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko and Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven along with BIR Deputy Commissioner Lanee David “to negotiate” with the USTDA on behalf of the Philippines.

Tionko and Joven are the respective undersecretaries for the DOF’s Revenue Operations Group and International Finance Group, while David is the deputy commissioner for the BIR’s Information Systems Group.

The Special Authority covers the negotiations for an agreement on the grant for the BIR’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Modernization Strategy and Data Center Technical Assistance Project.

President Duterte also designated and authorized Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III or BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay “to conclude, sign, execute and deliver the said Grant Agreement.”

(MANILA BULLETIN)

The BIR project aims to modernize the bureau’s  infrastructure and operational environment, the DOF said. 

Dominguez has cited the BIR’s digital transformation efforts  as among the factors that led to a dramatic  improvement of its services  to taxpayers and  its  robust collection performance ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced crisis. 

He said the digitally enhanced administrative reforms being undertaken by the BIR are now beginning to pay off by way of the significant improvement in the country’s tax effort from 13 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 to 14.5

percent of GDP in 2019.

The digital switch has also led to  the more convenient and efficient electronic filing of tax payments, especially during this coronavirus pandemic, he said.

In February last year, the BIR allowed the use of the PayMaya mobile application as an additional electronic payment channel for tax payments.  

On top of PayMaya, these other e-payment tools are GCash, LandBank Linkbiz, DBP PayTax, Union Bank Online and PESONet.

The BIR has also improved  the tax forms deployed in the e-BIR Forms System to make the filing of tax returns more accessible and convenient to taxpayers. 

It began the pilot implementation  in April 21 last year of its web-based Internal Revenue Integrated System (IRIS) that will be the central tool and repository to process taxpayers’ information.  

The IRIS is targeted to be available nationwide by the end of 2021.

An  Electronic Audited Financial System (eAFS) was also launched last June 1 to allow business taxpayers to electronically submit  their financial statements to the BIR. 

The BIR likewise concluded last June its competition dubbed the ‘HACK-A-TAX Challenge,’ which  brought together talented information technology (IT)  professionals, start-ups and students across the country to develop innovative digital-based solutions for the bureau.

To enable  taxpayers to continue consulting revenue officials on their tax-related concerns even with the mobility restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, the BIR launched its eAppointment Facility on October 19. 

In  November 2020, the BIR also launched its web-based Procurement, Payment, Inventory and Monitoring System (PPIMS) and its Online Application for Tax Clearance for Bidding Purposes (eTCBP). 


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/01/21/dof-to-seek-us-grant-for-bir-digitalization/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dof-to-seek-us-grant-for-bir-digitalization)