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BIR, Customs miss collection targets in 2019

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By CHINO S. LEYCO

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs missed their collection targets last year, but the Department of Finance (DOF) cited the two main tax agencies’ improved performance compared with the previous year.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that the BIR and Customs “did a wonderful job” last year despite falling short by 7.1 percent against their combined target of ₱3 trillion.

Based on the preliminary data submitted to Dominguez, the two bureaus have collected ₱2.8 trillion in 2019, higher by 9.8 percent compared with ₱2.55 trillion a year before.

The BIR’s actual collections amounted to ₱2.172 trillion, equivalent to 93.2 percent of the agency’s target of ₱2.33 trillion. The amount was also 10.67 percent stronger than the actual collection of 1.962 trillion in 2018.

The Customs, meanwhile, raised ₱630.57 billion in 2019, representing 95.4 percent of its target of ₱661.04 billion and 6.3 percent higher than its total actual tax take of ₱593.11 billion in the previous year.

Despite the lower than programmed revenues, Dominguez said that he expects both the BIR and Customs will improve their performance “even more” this year amid the Philippines’ vibrant economic outlook.

For 2020, the two bureaus are tasked to collect ₱3.307 trillion. Of that amount, the BIR’s goal is pegged at ₱2.576 trillion, while Customs’ target is at ₱731 billion.

Aside from the BIR and Customs, Dominguez also congratulated his fellow workers in the DOF for a “good job” done last year, which has led to significant progress in the tax reform packages it had endorsed to the Congress.

The finance chief cited the “significant progress” in getting the remaining tax reform packages moving towards approval in the Congress, particularly the law imposing higher “sin” taxes on alcohol and tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

Earlier, Dominguez said that the professionalism and dedication of all DOF employees enabled them do what was once thought impossible—which is to pursue policy reforms that have spelled a palpable improvement in the lives of the Filipino people.

He added the Duterte administration is well on track in achieving what had seemed at first as an ambitious goal of bringing poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 down from 23.3 percent in 2015.

Official data showed that 5.9 million Filipinos were lifted out of poverty in three years. This means poverty incidence dropped to 16.6 percent in 2018 from the previous rate in 2015.

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