BIR studying implementation of tax refund for tourists

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2023 11:05 PM

MANILA - The tax refund for tourists approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is now being studied by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), as it prepares to implement the program, and offset possible lost revenues.

The Philippines collects a 12 percent value-added tax on goods, and the plan is to allow foreigners taking goods purchased in the Philippines home to get a VAT refund. This is similar to what other countries offer, such as Japan. 

"Pinag-aaralan pa how we will really implement it. But we will do that, pinag-aaralan ngayon yan. Hopefully in the coming days magawan natin ng detalyadong policies and regulations tungkol diyan,” BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday. 

On how he plans to offset any possible lost revenues from this pro-tourism initiative, Lumagui said they have several initiatives ongoing. 

"Marami tayong ginagawang actions no with respect to our enforcement and also to improve our services to the taxpayers. We believe, or I believe na pag napagaan natin ang transaction diyan sa BIR, definitely people will comply. So the tax compliance of our taxpayers will increase and will also, the corresponding increase in our tax collections will be there.” 

Aside from enforcement to close tax leaks and measures to increase the BIR’s efficiency, Lumagui said they will also follow the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028’s recommendation to utilize digital technology to improve processes. 

"We are recalibrating our efforts into the digital transformation program of the Bureau, kasi pinag-aralan natin yan, pagkaupo natin nakita natin baka hindi masyadong efficient, That is why we are studying it again, refocusing and we will try to improve on all of our digital services so that because itong digital services na ito mapapagaan ang pag serbisyo namin sa tax payers. Malaking tulong ito sa mga mamamayan para mapadali ang pagbayad ng buwis," he said.

Lumagui said they will disclose the plans for the tax refund as well as further efforts to digitize processes and improve enforcement soon.