BIR Gets $ 11-M World Bank Loan to Improve Tax Collection

Manila Bulletin, March 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

BIR Gets $ 11-M World Bank Loan to Improve Tax Collection


The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved a US$ 11-million loan to support the Bureau of Internal Revenues' (BIR) program that will improve efficiency of tax administration.

The National Program Support for Tax Administration Reform (NPSTAR) will improve the registration process, clean-up taxpayer registry, improve taxpayer e-services, e-filing and e-payment, and increase collection of arrears.

The loan will also support improvements in governance and management of the BIR. Overall, this assistance will help improve taxpayer compliance, tax enforcement and control, and enhance the BIR's capacity to undertake a sustainable and long-term reform program.

Department of Finance (DoF) Secretary Margarito Teves said, "The improvement in tax administration will help the government generate additional revenues that are needed to increase spending in needed social services such as health and education, and vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges. By plugging the leakages in the tax system, we are also increasing the equity of the tax burden."

Revenue administration in the Philippines is characterized by an underlying weak community culture towards paying tax. Government data show that there is a disproportionate collection of income tax between employed and self-employed individuals.

The DoF estimates that the difference between actual collected taxes and the potential tax due from self-employed individuals is about 70 percent while the gap for employed individuals is only 7 percent. The National Tax Research Center (NTRC) estimates that almost P30 billion in taxes from the self-employed and professionals were not collected on an annual basis in the last six years.

Joachim von Amsberg, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines, says that fiscal reforms undertaken thus far are essential for restoring the health of public finances and reversing the compression of public expenditures for basic public services. …

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