BIR collects record P2.5T in 2023, but falls short of target

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) saw its tax collections grow to a record high in 2023, but still fell short of its full-year revenue target due to adjustments in the collection of value-added tax (VAT).

“In 2023, we collected more than P2.5 trillion, which is around 7.5% higher than our tax collection in 2022,” BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. said in his speech during the taxman’s National Tax Campaign launch in Pasay City on Thursday.

“The additional revenue funded a wide array of government projects and initiatives. Notably, last year’s collection is the highest revenue ever recorded in the bureau’s history,” he added.

Last year’s collection, however, fell short of the government’s target of P2.64 trillion.

“This could have been higher if not for some adjustments in our VAT filing and payment deadlines,” Lumagui said.

In a chance interview with reporters, the BIR chief said that while the agency failed to meet its goal, it was still a welcome development considering a full quarter of VAT collection was not accounted for in 2023.

“The VAT compliance became quarterly from monthly, so a whole quarter of VAT did not come in last year,” Lumagui said, noting that the last quarter of 2023’s VAT collection will be accounted for in January.

Had the October to December 2023 VAT collection been accounted for last year, the BIR chief said the agency’s collection could have been P2.6 trillion in 2023.

In his remarks during the event, Finance Secretary Ralph Recto said the government aims to collect P4.3 trillion this year, the bulk of which will be collected by the BIR with a target of P3.05 trillion.

The Bureau of Customs, meanwhile, was tasked with collecting nearly P1 trillion in 2024.

Lumagui expressed confidence that the BIR will hit its full-year target this time.

“We have the new withholding tax on online sellers. Also, we’ll continue efforts to run after fake transactions and tax evaders… all of that will be enough,” the BIR chief said.

Lumagui added that digitalization and streamlining of processes to ease the payment of taxes will also contribute to its tax collection efforts this year.

“These revenues will fuel our economic engine towards Bagong Pilipinas—a more inclusive and sustainable Philippine economy marked by lower poverty rates, increased infrastructure and human capital investments, more quality jobs for our people, and improved public services,” Recto said. (GMA Integrated News)


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