BIR-13 exceeds 2015 target

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue-Region 13 (BIR-13) registered an excess of P400 million in taxes collected in 2015, exceeding last year’s goal.

In 2015, BIR-13, which covers Cebu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and Tagbilaran City in Bohol, was tasked to collect P25.4 billion, but the region collected P25.8 billion instead, based on the preliminary data from the bureau. There are some remaining amount of taxes collected that have yet to reflect on BIR’s system for the month of December 2015.

The excess represented a 1.72 percent increase from the 2015 goal, 22.26 percent higher than the tax revenues in 2014.

According to BIR-13 Director Hermeno Palamine, the lot transactions at the South Road Properties (SRP) largely contributed to the collection success of the region in 2015.

Based on the tentative data presented, only BIR-82 or BIR-Cebu City South saw an excess in tax collections last year, up 93.38 percent from the goal set. The rest of revenue regions (Mandaue City, Cebu City North, Talisay, and Tagbilaran) reported deficits that averaged 11 percent.

This year, the BIR-13 chief projected that the 2016 goal might not go below P30 billion.

“Historically, the goal increases by 20 percent every year,” he said.

The official said the region has not been given this year’s goal yet, believing that this would come out in the last week of this month or early February.

Official data of the 2015 collection might also come out sometime in the same period.

Palamine expressed uncertainty about hitting this year’s goal. Unlike in previous years, 2014 and 2015, BIR-13 consistently went beyond the goal set by the national office.

In 2014, only BIR-13 and BIR in Caloocan had achieved collection beyond target.

The 2014 collection for BIR-13 stood at P21.1 billion.

Effective collection also means taking a tough stance against tax evaders.

There might be four establishments in Cebu that could be padlocked by the BIR-13 this year if these do not heed the notices the bureau previously sent.

Palamine did not identify the locations of these businesses, but maintained that they are all within Cebu Province and are under surveillance.

“It takes away the element of surprise,” he said of the Oplan Kandado program.

Under BIR Memorandum Order No.3-2009 or the Oplan Kandado program, business operations of non-compliant taxpayers will be suspended and their establishments will be temporarily closed if they are found to have violated tax laws.

In 2015, Blu Tops, a Korean restaurant in Lahug in Cebu City, was ordered closed after its owner was found to have not paid P5.8 million in taxes. The amount was the combined discrepancy in the restaurant’s tax assessment in 2013, 2014 and the first half of 2015.

According to BIR, business operations can be suspended or temporarily closed for the following grounds: failure to issue receipts or invoices by a VAT-registered or registrable taxpayer; failure to file a VAT return; understatement of taxable sales or receipts by 30 percent or more of the correct amount; and failure to register.

The closure of the business establishment should not be less than five days, and will be in force until the violation is rectified by the taxpayer.

Palamine said the BIR can also file a tax evasion case against the taxpayer if he or she cannot settle his or her obligations.

BIR-13 also said that the decision to allow the business establishment to reopen after it rectified its violations does not depend on them, but on the BIR national office.

Palamine has called on to taxpayers to always pay the right taxes. BIR-13 maintains a team of officers to conduct surveillance on erring business establishments.
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