Providing remedies to taxpayers’ concerns prompted Senator Win Gatchalian to file a bill that will primarily protect taxpayers against any threat to their rights in carrying out their obligation to pay taxes.
In the collection of taxes, Gatchalian said that in many instances the collecting agency uses its immense power and resources to go after the taxpayers to their undue prejudice. This is why it is important to legislate the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and Obligations (TBORO) to address the systematic problem, according to Gatchalian who chairs the Committee on Ways and Means at the Senate.
“Isa sa magiging focus ng Committee on Ways and Means sa Senado ay ang mismong taxpayer at ang karapatan nito. Madalas kasi nating iniisip ang pagtataas ng buwis o kaya ang pagpapalawak ng sakop ng pagbubuwis. Pero nakakalimutan natin ang karapatan ng mga konsyumer o mismong mga nagbabayad,” Gatchalian said in filing Senate Bill No. 1199 or An Act Ordaining a Bill of Rights and Obligations of the Taxpayer.
“This law is meant to temper the government’s exercise of its taxing power and afford taxpayers fair and reasonable treatment when dealing with revenue authorities. Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang batas na ito ay mas mahihikayat pa natin ang maraming taxpayer na tugunan ang kanilang obligasyon at magbayad ng maagap at tamang buwis,” he added.
Investigations made by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF) in April 2022 found employees from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to have engaged in irregular activities. Of the 468 investigated from the period July 2016 to February 2022, 16 employees were dismissed, 10 were found guilty in criminal cases, 35 were suspended, and 7 were ordered to pay fines. In July of the same year, the BOC reported that three of its personnel were dismissed, 27 were relieved, and 7 were suspended.
The measure proposes the creation of the Office of a National Taxpayer Advocate that would take the cudgel in ensuring that not only these rights are safeguarded but would also serve as the champion of every taxpayer.
The measure also promotes accessibility to the taxpayers’ rights and obligations, especially the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It proposes the establishment of a micro and small taxpayer clinic program to be developed by the DOF to ensure fairness and the integrity of the tax system especially for micro and small taxpayers who have disputes with any revenue authority.