THE Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) were asked by Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay last Wednesday to extend the April 15 deadline for filing and payment of annual income tax returns for 2020, as it did last year amid the imposition of lockdown measures to check the spread of the deadly Covid-19 contagion.
“We are hoping they [DOF and BIR] will extend the April 15 deadline, even if only in the National Capital Region [NCR] Plus,” Sen. Binay said, recalling that “we already extended last year due to the enhanced community quarantine. We are still dealing with the same situation a year later so we do not understand why they will not grant an extension,” Binay pleaded.
This even as BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel SD. Guballa on Monday said the bureau would not grant an extension of the deadline, citing the Duterte government’s “need to reach its revenue targets to fund the pandemic response.” Guballa added that while there would be no extension, taxpayers will be allowed to amend their filings until May 15 without any penalties.
The Senator, however, voiced concern noted that individual taxpayers and even micro and small businesses would find it difficult to comply in the first place given the restrictions on movement.
Binay added: “Ang talo kasi rito iyong mga indibidwal at maliliit na negosyo na limitado ang kapasidad na kumpletuhin ang mga requirements dahil sa lockdown. So para sa kanila, walang bearing ang ‘no-penalty amendments’ dahil baka mismong pag-file hindi nila magawa.” [The losers here are those individuals and small businesses that have limited capacity to complete the requirements due to the lockdown. So for them, there is no bearing on the no-penalty amendments because they may not be able to file.]
At the same time, she noted that even corporate taxpayers would be pressed for time in adjusting their payments to the lower rates provided as relief by the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) Law that President Duterte signed into law only on March 26, with the BIR releasing the law’s draft implementing rules and regulations only last Tuesday.
Binay acknowledged that while the BIR has revenue targets, “the people should not have to pay the price for its mishandling of the public health crisis,” reminding that “hindi naman kasi taumbayan ang may kasalanan kung bakit lumala ang sitwasyon na kinakaharap natin.” [It is not the people who are to blame for why the situation we are facing has worsened.]
“So why are we passing the buck if they aren’t responsible for the mismanagement of this crisis.”
The Senator added that based on the BIR’s monthly collection goal, the agency aims to collect P235.237 billion in April.