Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking to empower taxpayers by educating them on their basic rights, simplifying the tax compliance process, and requiring revenue authorities to provide quality service to our taxpayers with the end view of enhancing the government’s revenue collection efforts.
Section 4 of Senate Bill No. 1199 or the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and Obligations Act, which was filed by Gatchalian this 19th Congress, stipulates the taxpayers’ basic right to participate in taxpayer dialogues and information or education campaigns to elicit awareness on their rights and obligations while helping them comply with revenue laws, rules, and regulations.
“We are aware that taxation laws can sometimes become very difficult to understand by ordinary taxpayers and it is critical that we enable them to appreciate these laws more clearly,” Gatchalian said.
For instance, taxpayers must be made aware of what to do when presented with a letter of authority (LOA) by revenue officers and representatives if they want to examine the books of accounts. LOA is required to be presented to a taxpayer before any audit or assessment takes place. It presents the authority given to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officer to perform assessment functions to ensure the collection of the correct amount of tax.
“Kailangang basahin nang maigi ng taxpayer ang nakasulat sa dokumento na ipapakita ng revenue officer kung magsasagawa ito ng audit upang malaman ng taxpayer kung mayroong anumang discrepancy o inconsistency. Kung iba ang BIR officer na gagawa ng mismong pag-audit at hindi ang pangalang nakalagay sa dokumento, may karapatan ang taxpayer na hindi sumunod sa kautusan,” Gatchalian explained.
“Mahalagang malaman ng mga taxpayer ang kanilang mga karapatan bilang proteksyon laban sa ilang mapang-abusong alagad ng gobyerno,” he stressed.
The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) in 2020 disclosed that the BIR topped the list of “most complained agencies.” The April 2022 report of the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the finance department showed that 55% of the 468 employees investigated from the period July 2016 to February 2022 were from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) while 38% were from the BIR. The erring employees were either dismissed from service, found guilty in criminal cases, suspended, or ordered to pay fines.
“Inaasahan natin na sa pamamagitan ng panukalang batas na ito ay lalo pa nating maiangat ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng ating mga taxpayers sa gobyerno nang sa ganun ay mas maging handa sila para tuparin ang kanilang obligasyon sa pagbabayad ng buwis at maging maayos ang pangongolekta ng gobyerno ng buwis,” Gatchalian ended.