Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the expansion overseas of online filing of tax returns or e-filing in a bid to provide ease and convenience for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in fulfilling their obligation such as in payment of real estate tax and estate tax, among others.
“Electronic filing would make it easier for non-residents or those working overseas to file and pay for their taxes,” said Gatchalian.
According to him, the proposal will be integrated into a measure he filed, Senate Bill 1346 or the Ease of Paying Tax, which introduces administrative tax reforms by amending certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
Currently, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the government’s main revenue-collecting agency, has put in place an Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS). However, the platform is not available to Filipinos working overseas. As per data from the BIR, only 43 percent of the total number of tax returns were filed electronically in 2015, rising sharply in 2020 to about 94 percent of the tax returns amid the global pandemic.
“Para sa kapakanan ng ating mga taxpayers, kailangan nating gawing mas madali ang proseso ng pagpa-file at pagbabayad ng buwis dahil ito ang paraan para mapahusay ang pagkolekta ng buwis na kailangan ng bansa para mapalaki ang pondo ng gobyerno at suportahan ang mga programa nito,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee Ways and Means.
Aside from providing taxpayers the option of filing their returns and paying the taxes due through electronic means, the bill also seeks to allow the payment of taxes to any authorized agent bank (AAB), and not only limited to AABs in the revenue district office where the taxpayer is registered.
Gatchalian said the proposed measure seeks to modernize tax administration using the latest applicable technology aimed at further improving tax collection.
“If we are to improve our efficiency in tax collection, we need to make it easier for our taxpayers to pay their taxes. Kailangan nating magkaroon ng maayos na sistema at mas maayos na pagtrato sa ating mga taxpayers upang mapataas natin ang tax compliance,” Gatchalian stressed.