By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P149.45 billion for the month of January, a 15.5 percent increase from last year. If sustained, the bureau will be on track to exceed its target of P1.829 trillion in tax collections for this year.
To recall, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said earlier that the agency is poised to beat its collection target for this year but only if the BIR can have a boost in its manpower.
A bill was earlier filed in the House of Representatives seeking to exempt BIR officials from the salary standardization law (SSL) so the bureau could craft its own compensation system for a more competitive pay.
When asked about it, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that he is “in favor” of increasing the salaries of BIR personnel.
“If you’re going to ask me, I am in favor of that. You increase the salary by five times but they will give up security of tenure,” Dominguez said in a round table discussion held in Manila Bulletin on Friday.
BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Nestor Valeroso said that as of January, the agency collected R149.45 billion, higher than the R129 billion it recorded in the same period last year.
“We have registered double digit growth by January because of the GDP (gross domestic product) growth and the (increased) willingness of our taxpayers to comply,” Valeroso, who was also in the same briefing, said.
“It’s a good start for the year. People are now cooperating,” he added.
For this year, BIR is targeting to collect P1.829 trillion in taxes, higher than the P1.75 trillion it collected in 2016.
“For 2016, our goal is P1.620 trillion but we had P1.75 trillion in actual,” Valeroso added, noting that 60 percent of the total collection were from corporate and individual taxes.
He said the agency will reach its 2017 target collection by sustaining the growth in collection, increased in revenue protection to gain public trust, improving customer satisfaction, and simplifying the payment process.
As of now, BIR employs 10,000 people, far from the needed 21,000 personnel.
“To be able to collect, we need people. Part of our program is to go on a massive hiring campaign and try to complete the staffing of the BIR as fast as we can. To be able to attract the good CPAs (certified public accountants) and Lawyers, we have to get out of the salary standardization law. We will press Congress to exempt us,” Dulay said.