By Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson, Reporter
THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected about P2.53 trillion in 2023, surpassing the previous year’s level but falling short of its full-year target.
“In 2023, we collected more than P2.5 trillion, which is around 7.5% higher than our tax collection in 2022,” BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui, Jr. said in a speech at the agency’s National Tax Campaign Kick-off event on Thursday.
“The additional revenue funded a wide array of government projects and initiatives. Notably, last year’s collection is the highest revenue collection ever recorded in the bureau’s history,” he added.
The agency’s revenue collections last year rose from P2.34 trillion in 2022, but it missed the P2.64-trillion target for 2023.
Mr. Lumagui said this was mainly due to the change in the deadline of value-added tax (VAT) filings to quarterly from monthly.
“First of all, this was due to the change in VAT compliance. VAT requirements became quarterly from monthly. That’s big, because in 2022 the VAT payment was filed monthly and now it became quarterly. There’s one quarter of VAT payments that was not counted for 2023,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
“One of the reasons for that would be that the last quarter for VAT was paid in 2024. But essentially, I think they did a good job. I think the bigger challenge will be for 2024, because the revenue targets are high as well,” Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto told reporters on the sidelines of the same event.
This year, the BIR is expected to generate P3.05 trillion in revenues. The agency collects about 70% of the government’s revenues.
Mr. Lumagui said he expects the agency’s planned programs and initiatives this year to help it achieve its collection target.
“With all the programs we’re doing, we’re hoping that it will be enough,” he said, citing the recently issued withholding tax on online sellers, increase in enforcement activities and digitalization and streamlining of processes.
“We’re hoping with everything we’ve done, making it easier for the public to pay taxes, that… their compliance will be better and increase this year,” he added.
Meanwhile, separate data from the BIR showed it generated P137.18 billion in revenues from operations targeting the illicit trade of cigarettes, vape and other excisable articles in 2023.
It filed 259 cases under its Run After Tax Evaders program with total tax liabilities worth P18.3 billion.
Under its Run After Fake Transactions program, the agency filed more than 23 cases against ghost corporations, corporate buyers, accounting firms and buyers and sellers with tax losses worth P45.2 billion.
The BIR issued 179 closure orders and collected P987.74 billion from its enforcement program Oplan Kandado, it added. The program suspends the operations and temporarily closes establishments that ignore BIR requirements.
Last year, 2.104 million people filed their taxes online, higher than 1.996 million e-filers in the previous year. BIR also said 68% of taxpayers prefer to file their returns electronically.
“We have gained headway in our digital transformation programs. We have expanded our ISO certification to include frontline processes… In short, in the span of about a year, we will achieve 100% ISO certification. This is a big deal because our processes will be transparent and more efficient,” Mr. Lumagui added.