BIR modernization gets US grant

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    The United States through the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has extended an $809,450 grant, or about P38.85 million for the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Modernization Strategy and Data Center Project.

    The US grant aims to assist the BIR in undertaking an in-depth technical assessment of its current ICT environment, developing an Enterprise Architecture roadmap/framework, and assessing the organizational framework of its Information System Group, including recommended restructuring and training programs.

    Finance Secretary Carlos Domiguez said even before the pandemic, the BIR’s digitization reforms helped it significantly improve the Philippines’ tax effort, with tax revenues as a share of gross domestic product rising to 14.5 percent in 2019 from 13 percent in 2015.

    This was the country’s best performance in more than two decades, according to Dominguez.

    He said the introduction of additional electronic channels has made the filing and payment of taxes more accessible and convenient for taxpayers.

    As a result, total revenues collected through digital channels reached P1.83 trillion in 2019, representing 84 percent of the total collections of the BIR for that year.

    The amount collected from digital payment systems in 2019 was 54 percent more than the sum collected through the same channels in 2015. Electronic tax filers were 58 percent of the total filers in 2019 versus 25 percent in 2015. – Angela Celis