In this article, we discuss the wealth of information available at the BIR website, the wide menu of electronic services both online and via mobile. We also share a first-hand experience in using the BIR Portal and filing taxes online. If you have experiences using BIR’s e-government services, do share. – ka edong
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has a very important role in the Philippine economy. It helps gather enough â€œcontributionsâ€ (otherwise known as â€œtaxesâ€) from individuals and enterprises to give our country enough â€œoperating cashâ€ to build roads and bridges.
When we studied the BIR website in 2002, it was one of the websites that was given a relatively high-rating of Stage 3 or Interactive e-government website. Excerpt from the 2002 study:
The BIRâ€™s stage 3 website has an Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) in its website. e-Filing (the online submission of income tax returns including attachments) and e-Payment (paying income taxes through the internet banking facilities of Authorized Agent Banks) facilities are currently available for large corporate taxpayers. eFPS will be available to Small and Medium Corporations by the year 2003.
Letâ€™s see how far the BIR has developed through the years.
The BIR website: www.bir.gov.ph
On the main page of BIR, itâ€™s easy to tell that BIR has continued to extend its web presence through many online tools.
Starting with the basics, the following information are readily available through a link on the front page:
- Directory â€“ with names, email addresses and contact numbers; increases accountability
- Tax Information – a very good reference for all kinds of tax from capital gains tax to Donorâ€™s Tax
- Registration Info – includes Tax Identification Number application process and requirements
- FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions about the website
- The website also includes an About page , Announcements , Updates , Issuances and rulings, Legal matters and Archives
- Special Sites include the Tax Code, Tax Calendar, BIR Forms, Zonal Values, Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and the PSIC/PSOC.
A note on the BIR Forms. All major forms are downloadable from the BIR website. Forms are available in zipped excel or pdf format. They are all FREE to download and print. Good to have your forms printed and filled-up in the convenience of your home or office even before you reach the BIR office.
Thereâ€™s a wealth of information in the BIR website. It is very generous with information â€“ this helps the organization manage inquiries by allowing citizens to find the information themselves on the BIR website.
Now for the exciting partâ€¦
- eSubmission is a simple hyperlink to an email address where citizens can submit their Alphalist (Annual/MAP/SAWT). The link automatically inserts the email address, subject and the information required for the submission.
- eTIN (not available at time of visit) is an online registration of Tax Identification Number. Excerpt from a press release:
â€œRegistering with the BIR is now easier through the implementation of the â€œTIN on the Webâ€ project (also known as the eTIN system) starting on March 24, 2003. Through the eTIN sytem, taxpayers classified as professionals will have the convenience of getting their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) merely by visiting the BIR Website at www.bir.gov.ph. The eTIN system is currently limited to issuance of TIN for new registrants classified as professionals.â€
- eBroadcasting – Tax payment made by taxpayers to the BIR through Accredited Agent Banks (AABs) can be confirmed within 48 hours from transaction date via Short Messaging Services (SMS), BIR Web, and e-mail.
- E – Report Card – The E-Report Card is an application intended to provide Tax Performance Information to taxpayers (particularly the Large Taxpayers of different industries) vis-Ã -vis pre-defined industry benchmark.
- PayBIR is a project initiated by BIR to support its Tax Collection Drive. Through the PAYBIR service, taxpayers may now pay their tax of P10,000 and below by a simple text message.
- e-Complaint is intended to be an electronic system by which taxpayers may report complaints against erring BIR employees. Citizens can also Text their complaint .
- eAccreg – Online Accreditation and Registration of CRM/POS!
- eSales -Â Electronic Sales Reporting System. This service enables businesses to report their Sales via 3 channels: SMS, Email, Web. Note: I couldnâ€™t find the Web channel, it looks like it isnâ€™t functioning yet.
- Other e-Services: eTCVD (Tax Compliance Verification Drive), eLAMS, TINVER (TIN Verification System)
A Mobile Raffle Contest
It is also worthwhile to mention the highly effective campaign of BIR, Premyo Sa Resibo. In essence, the BIR gathered a huge amount of sales data by encouraging consumers to send in Official Receipt information. The OR info is sent via text and the sender is entitled to a raffle ticket which could win in a weekly draw or a jackpot of as much as 1 million pesos!
Thereâ€™s a lot of good points in this contest.
- First, it instills the habit of asking for an OR for every commercial transaction. This helps ensure that the correct taxes are paid by the enterprise selling the product/service.
- Second, it gathers information easily via SMS through citizen reporting.
- Third, it doesnâ€™t cost BIR to collect this information (in fact it is the citizen who shoulders the cost of the SMS sent in exchange for a chance to win the jackpot).
- Fourth, the contest gathers a huge amount of information that helps the BIR identify erring business taxpayers.
Beautiful, this contest-and-data-mining initiative!
The centerpiece of the BIR online services
The eFPS â€œallows taxpayers to electronically process and transmit tax return information including attachments, and taxes due thereon to the government over to the internetâ€
From the eFPS FAQs:
What is e-Filing?
e-Filing is the process of electronically filing returns including attachments, if any, specifically through the internet.
What is e-Payment?
e-Payment is the process of electronically paying a tax liability through the internet banking facilities of Authorized Agent Banks (AABs).
Why do we need to use eFPS? What are its objectives?
With eFPS, taxpayers can avail of a paperless tax filing experience and can also pay their taxes online through the convenience of an internet-banking service via debit from their enrolled bank account.
First-hand user experience
I tried enrolling myself in eFPS today.
Unfortunately, after several attempts, I couldnâ€™t get through the online enrollment form. I received errors: â€œTIN is not registered in the BIR databaseâ€ and â€œBranch Number has no valueâ€.
I was able to enroll in BIR Portal, though, and didnâ€™t encounter any errors upon registration. I noticed though thatÂ that the registration process doesnâ€™t seem to verify my email address â€“ a security concern, I would say. After an hour or so, I tried to log-in again. Now I couldn’t get in despite several attempts entering the correct username, password and variations of my TIN (9 digits, 12 digits). I used the “forgot password” function, got a new password but still couldn’t login.
But there is work to do, thus I continue…
From the eFPS FAQs, I see that there is a 3-10 days processing of the online enrollment, afterwhich the enrollee should expect to receive an email notification from BIR about the registered eFPS account.
The e-Filing and e-Payments should be very convenient. My friend Rick tells me how much time is spent filing his businessâ€™s BIR documents each month! After trudging to the BIR office and lining-up in the heat of summer, he submits his form and all BIR does is receive the form.
E-Filing and e-Payments should help individuals, entrepreneurs and corporations alike to save on time and resources by filing and paying online.
e-Payments are done via Authorized Agent Banks. E-Payments makes use of the Bankâ€™s existing online banking facility to transfer payments to BIR. Kudos to BIR for making these partnerships with banks possible!
All eFPS transactions have reference numbers which can be used as â€œproofâ€ or each transaction.
All in all, I see the BIR continues developing online services which they started circa 2001. The online services help citizens transact more conveniently with BIR. The online services also helps ease the amount of human transactions that BIR needs to address given their limited manpower.
The BIR website is very information rich. Users of the BIR website would benefit a lot through navigation help tips. A site-wide search should be made available considering the wealth of information in the BIR website.
The BIR website could use some improvement in their search function, though.
The prominent navigation buttons on the left sidebar with links to the different e-services is a huge plus for visitors of the BIR website. The innovative use of mobile services is also a huge plus for BIR.
The way things are, I see how the BIR website is a collection of multiple e-services. One improvement area would be a streamlining of the various services for a unified interface. For instance, why should a user need to register in the BIR portal AND then again in the eFPS?
I look forward to seeing a more streamlined BIR website which would guide users in finding the transaction they need in just a few clicks. Iâ€™m sure this is a big challenge considering BIR probably has hundreds of types of transactions and a wide variety of users (entrepreneurs, SMEs, individuals, large corporate taxpayers).
Given that the BIR now has public user log-in to the BIR portal, secure transactions, on-line payments (through commercial Banks) and transaction confirmations,
the BIR website is a Stage Four e-Government website: Transactional Web Presence.
BIR Contact Center : 981-8888; Trunkline: 9817000
BIR National Office Bldg.,
Agham Road, Diliman,
Quezon City, Philippines
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