Collections of the government’s two main tax agencies surpassed the P2-trillion mark in the first nine months of the year, nearing the pre-pandemic level, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported Friday, Oct. 22.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said tax haul of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs went up 9.3 percent to P2.03 trillion in January to September from P1.85 trillion in the same period last year.

The end September tax take was only P60 billion short of the P2.09 billion pre-pandemic collections of the government in the same period in 2019.

But to hit the P2.715 full year tax collection target for 2021, the government needs to raise as much as P685 billion in the fourth quarter.

The BIR, which accounted for at least 60 percent of government collections, raised P1.54 trillion at end September, up 6.9 percent compared with P1.44 trillion a year ago.

The Customs bureau, on the other hand, collected P469.8 billion in the first three-quarters, an increase of 18 percent from P398.04 billion in the previous year.

In September alone, the government’s tax collections improved 12 percent to P216 billion from P192.8. billion in the same month last year.

Of that amount, the BIR collected P152 billion, up eight percent compared with P140.6 billion last year, while the Customs bureau’s collections reached P57.5 billion, higher by 13 percent from P50.75 billion.

In a related development, the BIR padlocked 322 establishments in the first nine months of 2021 for various tax code violations, which resulted in the collection of P1.867 billion in back taxes.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa also said the agency closed down the operations of two establishments in September, which yielded P290 million in tax collections.

Moreover, Guballa said the BIR had rolled out its Internal Revenue Integrated System (IRIS)–Taxpayer Registration System (TRS) in the third quarter in all revenue district offices (RDOs), except in 12 offices that do not yet have fiber optics capabilities.

“The RDOs now have an electronic facility for capturing, monitoring and reporting taxpayer’s primary and secondary registration data–whether individual or non-individual, and whether with or without businesses,” Guballa said.

He said the TRS will “also facilitate the update of registration information and generation and printing of Certificate of Registration (COR), Authority to Print (ATP), Tax Clearance (TC) and Tax Identification Number (TIN) ID card.”

Earlier, Dominguez had ordered the BIR and the Customs bureau to further intensify their operations against tax cheats, in keeping with the government’s war on graft and corruption.

Source: Manila Bulletin (