Earlier this month, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 4-2021, which lays down the guidelines for the filing of tax returns and attachments, as well as the payment of the taxes due. The RMC did not, essentially, introduce any changes to the prescribed manner of filing and payment of tax returns, but it is nevertheless important to refresh ourselves on these guidelines to ensure proper compliance and avoid unnecessary penalties and inconvenience.

ELECTRONIC FILING AND PAYMENT OF TAX RETURNS

The electronic mode of filing of tax returns can either be via the eBIR Forms or the Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) Facility. Several regulations were previously issued by the tax authority, which identified taxpayers for whom the filing of tax returns using these electronic filing platforms is mandatory. Nevertheless, other taxpayers may also opt to voluntarily file their tax returns electronically.

Under existing regulations, the following taxpayers are required to use the eBIR Forms in filing their tax returns:

1. Top withholding agents;

2. Accredited tax agents/practitioners and all their client-taxpayers;

3. Accredited printers of principal and supplemental receipts/invoices;

4. One-Time Transaction (ONETT) taxpayers who are classified as real estate dealers/developers; those who are considered habitually engaged in the sale of real property who are using/filing BIR Form No. 1606 together with the BIR Form No. 2000OT and regular taxpayers already covered by eBIR Forms;

5. Taxpayers who are filing for a “No Payment Return”;

6. Government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs);

7. Local government units, except barangays;

8. Cooperatives registered with National Electrification Administration and Local Water Utilities Administration.

In case of filing of “No Payment Returns,” note that once the taxpayer filed using the eBIR Forms, it shall continue to file its subsequent tax returns via the platform whether or not there are any tax payments due. However, manual filing for “No Payment Returns” shall be allowed for the following taxpayers:

1. Senior Citizen or Persons with Disabilities filing their own returns;

2. Employees deriving purely compensation income from two or more employers, concurrently or successively at any time during the taxable year, or from a single employer although the income of which has been correctly subjected to withholding tax, but whose spouse is not entitled to substituted filing; and

3. Employees qualified for substituted filing that opted to file for an annual income tax return and are filing for purposes of promotion, loans, scholarships, foreign travel requirements, etc.

The payment of taxes due on returns filed via the eBIR Forms shall be made through any of the following:

1. Authorized Agent Banks (AABs) under the jurisdiction of the concerned Revenue District Office (RDO) where the taxpayer is registered.

2. Revenue Collection Officers (RCOs) under the RDO where the taxpayer is registered through the Mobile Revenue Collection Officer System (MRCOS) in areas where there are no AABs.

In manually paying its taxes through RCOs, taxpayers shall take note that cash payments are allowed only up to a maximum of P20,000 per return. Therefore, in case the tax payable for a single return exceeds P20,000, the taxpayer shall prepare instead a check for payment, which in most cases shall be a manager’s or cashier’s check.

3. Electronic payment via the following channels:

a. GCash or PayMaya;

b. Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Pay Tax Online — for taxpayers who are holders of Visa/Mastercard Credit Card and/or BancNet ATM/Debit Card.

c. Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) Link.Biz Portal — for taxpayers who have ATM accounts with LANDBANK and/or holders of BancNet ATM/Debit/Prepaid Card or taxpayers utilizing the PESONet facility for depositors of RCBC, Robinsons Bank and Union Bank.

d. Union Bank Online Web and Mobile Payment Facility — only for taxpayers who have accounts with Union Bank of the Philippines.

On the other hand, filing and payment of tax returns via the eFPS are mandatory for the following taxpayers:

1. Large taxpayers;

2. Top 5,000 individual taxpayers and top 20,000 private corporations as notified by the BIR;

3. Taxpayers under the Taxpayer Account Management Program (TAMP);

4. Insurance companies and stockbrokers;

5. Government bidders;

6. National government agencies;

7. Government offices, in so far as remittance of VAT withheld and business tax is concerned;

8. Accredited importers and prospective importers;

9. All licensed local contractors;

10. Corporations with paid-up capital stock of P10 million and above;

11. Corporations with complete computerized accounting systems (CAS); and

12. Enterprises enjoying fiscal incentives (e.g., PEZA, BoI, various zone authorities, etc.).

As stated in the RMC, in case those taxpayers required to file and pay their tax returns via the eFPS are not yet enrolled in the system or its application for enrollment with an eFPS-AAB is not yet completed, such taxpayers shall file their tax returns using the eBIR Forms and pay the corresponding taxes via any payment facilities available. The same manner of filing and payment of taxes applies in case of newly created tax returns which are not yet available in the eFPS facility but are already available in the eBIR Forms.

MANUAL FILING AND PAYMENT OF TAX RETURNS

Taxpayers who are not required to file their tax returns electronically shall manually file their tax returns using the electronic or computer-generated returns or photocopied returns in their original format in a folio or legal-size bond paper. Payment of the corresponding taxes due shall be made through either of the following:

1. AABs under the jurisdiction of the concerned RDO where the taxpayer is registered.

2. RCOs under the RDO where the taxpayer is registered through the MARCOS in areas where there are no AABs.

SUBMISSION OF REQUIRED ATTACHMENTS TO THE TAX RETURNS

Pursuant to the RMC, the following shall be observed as regards submission of the attachments to the tax returns.

1. Tax returns filed and paid electronically with no required attachments need not be submitted further in printed copy to the Large Taxpayers Service or Revenue District Office where the taxpayer is registered.

2. All required attachments such as the Monthly/Quarterly Alphalist of Payees (MAP/QAP), Summary List of Sales, Purchases and Importation (SLS/SLP/SLI), and Summary Alphalist of Withholding Agents of Income Payments Subjected to Withholding Tax (SAWT), which are prepared using the Data Entry Module and RELIEF shall be submitted via e-mail through esubmission@bir.gov.ph.

3. For quarterly and annual income tax returns (ITR) which were electronically filed, taxpayers have the option to submit the required attachments using the Electronic Audited Financial Statement (eAFS) system, which can be accessed via the BIR website. Note, however, that in case of the Information Return on Related Party Transaction (BIR Form 1709), which is a new required attachment to the annual ITR, the submission of which shall be made manually pursuant to Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 76-2020.

It is important that taxpayers are well aware of the manner of tax filing and payments they are required to observe, as doing otherwise will be considered tantamount to wrong venue filing which is subject to a penalty of P1,000 per return and a 25% surcharge of the tax due to be paid. Nevertheless, in special circumstances, such as the unavailability of electronic filing platforms, taxpayers are advised to observe the procedures in manual filing and payment of taxes. In such cases, it is also good practice for taxpayers to keep proof of the unavailability of the eFPS or eBIR Forms, such as screenshots of errors encountered in the filing or payment using these platforms, or a copy of the duly released advisory from the BIR, to support the alternative means of filing and payment of return that was observed.

Let’s Talk Tax is a weekly newspaper column of P&A Grant Thornton that aims to keep the public informed of various developments in taxation. This article is not intended to be a substitute for competent professional advice.

Arianne Cyril L. Mandac is a manager of the Tax Advisory & Compliance division of P&A Grant Thornton, the Philippine member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd.

 

As published in BusinessWorld, dated 26 January 2021