Tax payments collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) through electronic channels amounted to P1.2 billion in 2019, representing a 92 percent increase from the previous year’s P626.35 million.
The BIR’s report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also disclosed that the number of electronic tax payments last year reached 446,753 transactions, up by 60 percent from the 278,602 transactions done through e-channels in 2018.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said in his report that the electronic payments were done through the Union Bank Online Tax Payment Facility using automated teller machines (ATMs) or debit cards, the PayMaya smartphone app and the PESONet fund transfer service.
Guballa declared that for 2020, among the BIR’s targets are to further simplify its paper application forms and reduce processing times, the number of documentary requirements and signatories for taxpayers to enhance the bureau’s delivery of frontline services and help improve the ease of doing business.
Tax payments processed online increased remarkably in 2019 when the BIR, on Aug. 15, 2019, launched PESONet, an electronic funds transfer service which enabled the taxpayers to conveniently pay their taxes anytime and anywhere.
PESONet aims to shift over 15 million over-the-counter tax payment transactions collected annually to this online payments service, in sync with President Duterte’s directive to cut red tape and improve the ease of doing business for the benefit of taxpayers and the businesses.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko, head of the Revenue Operations Group (ROG) of the Department of Finance (DOF), said that the shifting of over 15 million over-the-counter tax payment transactions to PESONet represents more than 80 percent of the total number of tax-payment transactions processed by the BIR each year.
The BIR’s goal is to further make tax payments convenient, efficient and less costly for taxpayers and at the same time, saving around P230 million yearly in transaction fees for the agency, according to Undersecretary Tionko.
The savings of P230 million will come from the lowering of transaction fees charged by Authorized Agent Banks (AABs) from P40 to only P25 under the PESONet-enabled facility.
PESONet was launched by the BIR in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the payments industry.
The PESONet interoperable digital bills payment service is the latest payment infrastructure introduced by the payments industry under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) policy framework of the BSP.
PESONet, which can transact fund transfers electronically in large batches, has over 40 participating banks under its wing.
Through the E-PESO project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) worked closely with the BSP, BIR, BTr, LandBank and private sector partners, including the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI), Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and the Philippine Clearing House Corp. (PCHC), to set up the PESONet tax payments service.
The goal of the E-PESO project is to set up an interoperable digital bills payment service that is safe, reliable, efficient and will benefit a greater number of Filipinos.