Philippines confirms April 15 deadline for filing of income tax returns

The Bureau of Internal Revenue main office in Quezon City. - File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN): The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said that the April 15,2021 deadline for the filing of income tax returns (ITRs) and paying of income taxes stays.

Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 46-2021 issued by BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay on Tuesday (April 6) said that contrary to erroneous reports, “the deadline for filing [2020 annual income tax] return and payment of taxes due thereon is not extended.”

Dulay said the BIR will nonetheless accept tentative annual income tax returns as long as these were filed before or on the day of the mandatory deadline under the Tax Code.

“The return may be amended on or before May 15,2021 without imposition of increments. Provided that, a taxpayer whose amended returns will result in overpayment of taxes paid can opt to carry over the overpaid tax as credit against the tax due for the same tax type in the succeeding period or file for refund, ” Dulay said.

The BIR will also allow taxpayers or their authorized officers to affix an electronic signature in all tax returns, their attachments, and other accompanying documents, Dulay added.

“Such electronic signature shall be deemed equivalent to an actual signature or ‘wet signature’ for filing purposes” under the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, the BIR chief said.

Dulay also enjoined electronic filing instead of submitting hard copies of returns.

In the earlier RMC 45-2021 issued on Monday, the BIR also provided taxpayers who needed to file by April 5 their position papers, replies, and protests against ongoing audit investigations an additional 10,15 or 30 days from the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to submit these documents.

RMC 45-2021 posted on the BIR’s website listed down the specific deadline extension per type of letter or correspondence.

The filing of value-added tax (VAT) refunds with the BIR’s VAT credit audit division falling due on April 12 will also be extended by 30 days after the enhanced community quarantine in key regions gets lifted.

The government reimposed the ECQ restrictions in the so-called NCR Plus bubble, covering Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal die to the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

Last week, the BIR also allowed individual and corporate taxpayers to settle their dues falling between March 22 and April 30 “anywhere” as long as they pay on time.

The Department of Finance (DOF), which oversees the BIR as the country’s biggest tax-collection agency, had been cold to extend the mandatory tax-filing and payment deadline as revenues remained weak no thanks to the prolonged pandemic-induced recession.

The Bureau of the Treasury’s latest national government cash operations report showed that the total tax and non-tax collections from January to February amounted to P480.3 billion, down 4.2 per cent year-on-year.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) had programmed to collect P2.88 trillion in revenues this year, slightly up from P2.86 trillion last year but still below the record P3.14-trillion take in 2019.

In the case of the BIR, Dulay had assigned in April the largest monthly collection target for 2021 amounting to P235.24 billion, as the mandatory income tax filing and payment deadline fell this month.

House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee chair and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said the government’s cash situation “appears to be precarious.”

“We need the cash, ” Salceda had said, hence must stick to the cut-off date for tax payments even as he previously wanted to extend the deadline to give corporate taxpayers more time to adjust their returns to reflect the lower income tax rates under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law.

CREATE Law retroactively reduced the income tax rate slapped on firms to 25 per cent effective July 2020, from 30 per cent previously — which had been the highest in Asean.

It also slashed to an even lower 20 per cent the levy on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The BIR targets to release four revenue regulations (RRs) serving as the implementing guidelines of CREATE before the law takes effect on April 11.

Last year, the BIR also issued guidelines which allowed filing of tentative returns during the ECQ imposed from mid-March to May 2020 so taxpayers can file and pay their returns at the height of the longest and most stringent Covid-19 lockdown in the region.

But the DOF and the BIR later on pushed back the April 15 deadline three times and gave taxpayers until June 15,2020, to settle their 2019 dues.

As a result, tax collection lagged at the start of last year even as the government enjoined online as well as early filing among those who can afford to do so. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

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