BIR extends deadline for income tax return filing

MANILA, Philippines, March 20 ------ The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has extended the deadline for the filing of income tax returns for fiscal year 2019 to May 15, 2020 amid the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19. Pursuant to BIR Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 28-2020 dated March 18 and signed by Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay, the deadline for the filing of ITRs and the corresponding payment of taxes has been extended by another month from April 15 to May 15. Dulay said the one-month extension is granted without the imposition of penalties to taxpayers.

The circular also provided a “file and pay anywhere” rule to ease the process for taxpayers. “Taxpayers may file and pay the corresponding taxes due thereon to any authorized agent banks nearest to the location of the taxpayer or to any revenue collection officer under the Revenue District Office,” Dulay said. RMC No. 28-2020 amended RMC No. 25-2020, which was issued earlier by the BIR. The previous circular maintained the deadline for the filing of ITRs on April 15.

In a statement, the DOF said the deadline was moved “to provide relief to Filipino taxpayers who will not be able to prepare, let alone file, the necessary ITR documents on or before the original annual deadline of April 15 because of skeletal workforce arrangements and enhanced community quarantine rules that the national government has implemented to contain the pandemic.” The DOF said around P145 billion in tax collections would be delayed due to the extension.

Despite this, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government would not cut down its expenditures. As such, the DOF said the estimated shortfall may have to be covered by additional borrowings by the national government. The government thus appealed to taxpayers to file and pay their taxes early if they are ready, through mechanisms made available by the BIR, including online filing and payment platforms. The DOF said this would contribute to the government’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and stimulate economic activity amid a possible slowdown in growth.

“These tax payments are crucial for the government to fund extremely urgent social protection and emergency health measures meant to effectively combat COVID-19, as well as to sustain state investments needed to help Filipino families regain stable and reliable sources of income at the soonest possible time,” the DOF said. In a previous revenue memorandum circular, the BIR encouraged taxpayers to use the electronic filing facilities of the bureau, including the Electronic Filing and Payment System (EFPS) and the eBIRForm Facility, to limit taxpayers’ exposure to the coronavirus.

Taxpayers using the EFPS shall continue to settle their tax liabilities with the authorized agent bank (AAB) where they are enrolled. Meanwhile, those who will file their tax returns through the eBIRForm Facility may settle their payments over-the-counter through AABs, or through revenue collection officers in areas where there are no AABs. They may also opt for online payment through the Land Bank of the Philippines’ Link.Biz Portal, Development Bank of the Philippines’ Pay Tax Online facility, Union Bank of the Philippines Web and Mobile Payment facility and GCash or Paymaya. Meanwhile, the BIR, under RMC 27-2020, also moved the deadline for value-added tax (VAT) refund applications from March 31 to April 30, 2020.

The BIR said the 90-day period for processing VAT refund claims is also being evaluated. The processing of claims scheduled to be released from March 16 to April 14 was likewise suspended and will be continued once community quarantine measures are lifted.