Government won't push for new taxes next year

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 06 2012 08:12 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2012 06:49 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration will not push for new taxes next year on hopes that the two revenue measures it has been pushing would be in place by the end of the year, according to the latest 2013 expenditure program set by the interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

Instead, the government will focus on enhancing tax administration measures to enable its two biggest revenue agencies, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to meet higher collection targets set for next year.

In not pushing for new tax measures in 2013, the government expects that the measures seeking to restructure taxes on tobacco and alcohol and to rationalize fiscal incentives would already be in place by the end of this year. Both measures are now pending at the Senate.

The tax administration measures it has lined up include intensifying good governance advocacy through its existing anti-tax evasion and anti-smuggling campaigns.

These are the Run After Tax Evaders Program of the BIR and the Run After The Smugglers Program of the BOC.

The government is also intensifying its Revenue Integrity Protection Service, the anti-corruption unit of the Department of Finance, by filing more cases against corrupt officials of the government’s fiscal agencies and bureaus.

On the part of the BIR, the tax bureau is expanding its third-party information system, intensifying its tax audit efforts and would also be improving the training of its tax collectors.

The BOC, meanwhile, would also need to intensify its anti-smuggling campaign, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said.

In January to June, the BIR collected P521.159 billion, below the program for the period of P535.357 billion while the BOC raised P143.425 billion, below the program for the period of P167.175 billion.

The planned tax administration efforts are seen to support the government’s proposed budget of P2.006 trillion for 2013.

It has programmed revenues of P1.780 trillion for next year, 14.1 percent higher than the P1.560 trillion set for 2012.

The BIR is tasked to collect P1.238 trillion in 2013, 16.2 percent higher than the P1.066-trillion target for 2012.

The BOC, meanwhile, has a collection target of P397.3 billion for 2013, which is 14.5 percent higher than the revised P347-billion target set for this year.

Originally, the BOC actually has a collection target of roughly P410 billion for 2013, based on the original 2012 target of P357 billion.

However, sources in the DBCC said the lowered BOC target for 2013 takes into account the difficulties encountered by the agency in meeting its monthly revenue goals for the year.

From privatization, the government hopes to collect P2 billion, same as the programmed revenues from the sale of state-owned assets this year.

Disbursements, meanwhile, are programmed to go up to P2.021 trillion in 2013, 9.9 percent higher than the P1.839-trillion set for this year, resulting in a budget gap ceiling of P241 billion for next year.

This is wider than the programmed P279.1 billion set for this year.