As April 15 tax deadline nears, BIR OKs options for quarantine-locked taxpayers

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As the April 15 deadline to file annual income tax returns (ITRs) fast approaches, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has urged taxpayers to pay online or submit tentative returns if unable to get out of their homes to transact in a BIR office amid COVID-19 quarantine measures that now covers the entire island of Luzon.

Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 25-2020 issued by Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay on March 16 maintained that despite the lockdown, “the filing of the annual ITR for calendar year 2019 shall not be extended.”

The month-long, Luzon-wide quarantine will end on April 12, making it difficult or even impossible for auditors, for instance, to do field work during the lockdown period as movement of people was being restricted.

Dulay, in his memo, said taxpayers who are not required to use electronic filing facilities “are encouraged to use these facilities.”

This, he said, would “limit taxpayers’ exposure to persons who may be carriers or infected” with COVID-19.

Taxpayers enrolled in electronic payment systems of the BIR may pay their dues in accredited banks.

Those using electronic BIR forms could pay over the counter in banks, through revenue collection offices or online via Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Union Bank of the Philippines and mobile payment apps like GCash and Paymaya.

Deputy Commissioner Arnel S.D. Guballa said taxpayers would also be allowed to file temporary returns and have 60 days to amend these for corrections.

A BIR order had acknowledged that amid the community quarantine, “errors in determination” of income taxes are possible.

Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 25-2020 also allowed submission until June 15 of attachments for electronically filed ITRs at revenue district offices.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III earlier ruled out extending the April 15 tax-payment deadline, pointing out that it was mandated by the Tax Code or the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran told the Inquirer last week that of the projected P91 billion in forgone revenues this year due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, P57 billion would be cut from the BIR’s take and P34 billion from the Bureau of Customs.

Edited by TSB

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