File, Pay Taxes online at the BIR website: A Wealth of Info, Wide Menu of Online Services

by Ka Edong on March 25, 2009

e-Gov on Technobiography is published every Wednesday morning. See e-Government category for more articles.

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 “contributions” (otherwise known as “taxes”) from individuals and enterprises to give our country enough “operating cash” to build roads and bridges.

BIR website

BIR website banner

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 BIR’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.

Let’s see how far the BIR has developed through the years.

The BIR website: www.bir.gov.ph

On the main page of BIR, it’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:

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.

There’s a wealth of information in the BIR website. It is very generous with information – this helps the organization manage inquiries by allowing citizens to find the information themselves on the BIR website.

Now for the exciting part…

BIR’s e-services

  • 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:
    “Registering with the BIR is now easier through the implementation of the “TIN on the Web” 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.”
  • 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-à-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 -  Electronic Sales Reporting System. This service enables businesses to report their Sales via 3 channels: SMS, Email, Web. Note: I couldn’t find the Web channel, it looks like it isn’t functioning yet.
  • Other e-Services: eTCVD (Tax Compliance Verification Drive), eLAMS, TINVER (TIN Verification System)

Premyo Sa Resibo

Premyo Sa Resibo

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!

There’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 doesn’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

eFPS

eFPS

e-Filing and Payment System (eFPS)

The eFPS “allows taxpayers to electronically process and transmit tax return information including attachments, and taxes due thereon to the government over to the internet”

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 couldn’t get through the online enrollment form. I received errors: “TIN is not registered in the BIR database” and “Branch Number has no value”.

I was able to enroll in BIR Portal, though, and didn’t encounter any errors upon registration. I noticed though that  that the registration process doesn’t seem to verify my email address – 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 business’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 Bank’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 “proof” or each transaction.

Conclusion

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.

Here’s a tip: Use Google to search within the bir.gov.ph website by typing “<keyword> site:bir.gov.ph” in Google’s search box.

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. I’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
.

Visit the BIR website at www.bir.gov.ph
To start enjoying the BIR Portal experience, visit https://my.bir.gov.ph

BIR Contact Center : 981-8888; Trunkline: 9817000
email: contact_us@cctr.bir.gov.ph

BIR National Office Bldg.,
Agham Road, Diliman,
Quezon City, Philippines

e-Gov on Technobiography is published every Wednesday morning. See e-Government category for more articles.
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Comments

  • http://bubblehearth.blogspot.com esti from malaysia truly asia

    that efps is a very good e-service!

    if you are able to log into the service, the forms there look very much like the paper forms. wish you could login and share your experiences here (so that if by chance the developers see it, they’d be able to take some suggestions from you hehe)

    disclosure: i did not work on that project *rolleyes*

  • anonymous

    yeah right esti!!!

  • http://technobiography.edongskey.com ka edong

    @ esti, The forms are available even without login. They’re designed for printing. And it’s easy enough to fill-in the form with your info before printing.

    Next week ulit, suki! :-)

  • http://www.edwinsoriano.com ka edong

    A friend of mine tried out the efps. After repeated attempts to enroll online, she called up BIR:

    I was able to talk to BIR personel and she said the procedure is:

    >>> submit a request letter to your RDO to pay your taxes thru EFPS.
    >>> Upon approval, BIR will enter your name, tin and other details to their system.
    >>> Upon approval of your request (i dont know bakit kailangan pa ipaaaprove sa kanila if may efps enrollment naman na subject for approval din), you can proceed with the EFPS enrollment
    >>> eFPS will inform you that your enrollment has been successfully received. Then you have to wait for an email message from BIR informing you of the status of your enrollment whether approved or disapproved. Once your account has been activated, you are ready to e-file and e-pay, and perform all the functions within eFPS.

  • esti

    dunno if you heard but i think they’re having problems with the efps and manual filing has been authorized for those using the system as of april 14 (nyak april 15 deadline) ftp://ftp.bir.gov.ph/webadmin1/others/efps_unavailability.jpg

    ano kaya nangyari, hope they stabilize.

  • http://www.edwinsoriano.com ka edong

    up-to-date ang esti! all the way from malaysia?! ;-) Thanks for update, bro!

    ka edongs last blog post..Easter Exercise for your Happy Heart!

  • esti

    ahihihi, gumagawa kasi ako ng isang mini pet project pantanggal suya dito sa ginagawa ko ngayon dito. something to do with the tax table sa pinas kaya ko napansin when i was getting the online form :p

  • http://ph.yahoo.com espiridion d. de la cruz jr.

    dear sir,

    Puede po bang humingi ng online copy nung Speedlink Courier Service guidelines na sinubmnit ko sa BPI nuon?

    Thank you po.

    Espiridion

  • http://howtoapplyITRwhatsistherequiement,andhowtoTIN# GRACE OLAVE

    HOW TO GET TIN# AND WHATS IS THE REQUIERMENT FOR APPLYING ITR

  • Researcher

    Dear Fellow Countrymen,

    I am a Filipino student from National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan and I am conducting a research about online tax filing system of the Philippines.

    Please answer this survey questionnaire if you are a volunteering taxpayer who currently use the online tax filing system in the Philippines.

    Your response in this survey would be a great help in my research. All data collected from this survey will be kept with high confidentiality.

    Thank you and God bless.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?pli=1&formkey=dHhqQmI0WFFyQnVaVUZWS0tSbTJkaVE6MQ#gid=0

    P.S. Please forward this survey link to people you may know who uses the online tax filing system of the Philippines. Thank you very much.

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