A congressional leader on Saturday asked the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to extend the deadline for the filing of the 2020 income tax returns by at least 30 days.
Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez made the statement as the BIR said it will not extend its deadline on Thursday next week, April 15.
“Because of the pandemic, the current lockdown, and the policy that discourages people from going out of their homes and limits face-to-face interaction, the DOF and the BIR should give millions of taxpayers or their representatives longer time to file their tax returns and make payments,” Rodriguez said.
“NCR plus and other places have been under ECQ for 2 weeks now up to tomorrow and the filing will be only 4 days after on April 15. And there is talk on MECQ in the coming weeks,” he added.
He said it is not always possible for taxpayers or their representatives like accountants and bookkeepers to submit the returns online, since some supporting documents are kept in office premises that are closed due to the lockdown.
“In some instances, which I hope is not the case, some tax return filers may be sick and have to isolate themselves to prevent virus transmission, making it difficult if not impossible for them to comply with the filing requirement,” he said.
For those who want to personally file their returns, the lack of public transportation makes it hard for them to do so, he added.
Moreover, Rodriguez pointed out that some BIR offices may be closed for disinfection, while many banks authorized to receive tax returns are shuttered because of the ongoing enhanced community quarantine or lockdown in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
The House leader said in the case of corporations, the BIR has yet to make changes in its tax returns to reflect the lower income tax rates these businesses will now enjoy under the CREATE law President Duterte signed recently.
“Clearly, there is an urgent need for the DOF and the BIR to extend the filing deadline to give taxpayers or their representatives more time to comply with the filing requirement. The extension would also enable the BIR to introduce the adjustments required by the new law,” he stressed.