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PIA Press Release

BIR looks for alternative revenue sources in view of new tax relief law

by Rachelle M. Nessia

Dumaguete City (29 August) -- In view of the newly signed law that gave tax reliefs to minimum wage earners across the country, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) here are scouring for alternative revenue sources so they can meet or exceed their tax collection goal for this year.

In a forum held by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here on August 29 with officials from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), it was disclosed that upon implementation of RA 9504 - the law that granted tax relief for minimum wage earners BIR estimates between P90M to P100M in its revenue losses.

"Because of this law, we estimate that the tax revenue that will be lost from us is estimated to be between P90M to P100M," said Atty. Arturo Acabal, Assistant Revenue District Officer here.

Acabal said that in 2007, the BIR here collected almost P900 million in revenues. "This year our tax collection goal is upped by 25 percent, so we are expected to collect P1.1 billion or an additional P200M from last year's collection," he said.

Already, the revenue office has experienced a shortfall in its tax collection for the first seven months this year, as its collection is only P530M. "Our goal is P600M so we are short of around P70M which represents 11%," said Acabal.

However, the said collection exceeds the revenue office's collection in the same period last year, which was only P487M.

Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed into law RA 9504 on June 17, 2008 which exempts minimum wage earners from paying income tax and increasing tax exemption for all earners and additional exemptions for individuals with dependents/children.

Under the new law, earners will have a maximum of P50,000 annual income tax exemption. The new personal tax exemption covers all individuals whether single, married or head of the family.

In the old tax code, exemption for single individuals is only P20,000, head of families P25,000 and married individuals P32,000.

The said law will greatly affect BIR's tax collection. "Last year, out of the P900M that we collected, P320M came from withholding tax payments," said Acabal.

He disclosed that the Department of Finance has pronounced that there will be no more adjustments of the goal that has been set for each revenue district office in the country.

With this, Acabal said the BIR office here has already set into motion an intensified massive tax campaign for a personal appeal to the taxpaying public.

The intensified tax collection efforts also include a sit-down surveillance on all hotels in the province from Sept. 1 to 15 followed by a surveillance for all beach resorts from Sept. 16 to 30.

For the month of August, the BIR office here is expected to collect P100M in revenues, said Ayne Mandahuyan, BIR Assistant Regional Director.

"So we have to 'triple time' our efforts in order to make up for the difference," she said.

Meanwhile, the proposed P1.4 trillion national budget for 2009 would address the funding requirements of the government's priority programs.

These priority programs include environment, education and economy.

The Malacanang press report disclosed that roads, bridges and other public works, along with the farm sector, schools, social welfare and the government's health insurance programs would be the major recipients of the 2009 general appropriations. (PIA/RMN) [top]

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