#AskTheTaxWhiz: What's an eBIR?
What is the purpose of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)? It seems that tax compliance is becoming more difficult and complicated. All of a sudden BIR refused to issue pre-printed tax returns due to their new regulation on the mandatory use of eBIR forms. What is this eBIR form? How does it work?
The mandate of BIR is to assess and to collect all national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges. Unfortunately, taxpayer service is not explicitly provided in our tax code. And that's probably the reason why the Commissioner reiterated their primary nature as a collection agency and not customer care.
The eBIR form was developed to provide taxpayers particularly the non-eFPS (electronic filers and payment system) filers with accessible and convenient service through easy preparation of tax returns. The use of eBIR forms will improve the BIR's tax return data capture and storage thereby enhancing efficiency and accuracy in the filing of tax returns.
Per Revenue Regulation 06-2014, eBIR forms shall be available to all non-eFPS filers with or without Internet access. Taxpayers with Internet access shall download the eBIR forms package from the BIR website, while taxpayers without Internet shall download the eBIR forms package from the BIR e-lounges.
I am really [unhappy] with the BIR manual system. It doesn't have enough personnel to assist all taxpayers and yet they require too many documents which may not even be reviewed at all. Is it true that we cannot use our spreadsheet file to support our transactions? Does this mean we have to manually rewrite all our transactions in the columnar books or what they call "Books of Accounts" to avoid penalties? Do we need to submit it to BIR for checking or only during audit?
Yes. Unfortunately, if you are a non-eFPS filer, you need to manually record all your transactions and maintain manual books of accounts regardless of volume and monetary value. Although you have an option to file for "loose leaf system," this will require BIR approval and unless you have secured it, you need to rewrite all transactions in the columnar books to comply.
Yes. Books of Accounts must be presented to BIR for checking every January or during the renewal of registration, or before using another set of books.
Is it true that BIR will be closed starting next week? Where do we file tax returns if BIR is closed?
No. BIR offices will be open to taxpayers except during holidays, but its Integrated Tax System (ITS) will experience downtime from December 12, 2014, 5 pm until January 5, 2015, 7 am. ITS Databases in Quezon City, Cebu, Makati, and Manila will not be available or accessible to users.
In reference to an internal memorandum issued by Deputy Commissioners Nelson Aspe and Lilia Guillermo of the Operations and Information Systems Group, respectively, during the downtime, the following services will not be available:
- Issuance of Authority to Print
- Registration of New Taxpayers
- Encoding of Returns
- Generation of ITS reports
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP) of alphalists and summary lists of sales and purchases from Revenue District Office (RDO) to ITS
Taxpayers can still pay through the accredited agent banks (AABs) and electronic filing and payment system (EFPS). However, "No Payment" return shall only be accepted in BIR officers but the taxpayer's copy shall be released on January 5, 2015. So, if you are filing a "No Payment" return, better file it until Friday, December 12, 2014.
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Mon Abrea is a former BIR examiner and an advocate of genuine tax reform. He serves as chief strategy officer of the country’s first social consulting enterprise, the Abrea Consulting Group, which offers strategic finance and tax advisory services to businesses and professionals. Mon's tax handbook, Got a Question About Taxes? Ask the Tax Whiz! is now available in bookstores nationwide. Follow Mon on Twitter: @askthetaxwhiz or visit his group’s Facebook page. You may also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.