As they file income taxes, some business owners say still reeling from pandemic

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2022 04:08 PM

MANILA - Many business owners said they are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic lockdowns, and reported losses as they filed their income tax returns on Monday, which is the deadline for the filing of ITRs.

Marjon de Honor, an accountant with several clients, said that while conditions have improved with the easing of mobility restrictions, many of his clients are still struggling with keeping their businesses afloat. 

“Mga loss naman talaga ang finile namin. Kasi karamihan loss talaga kasi 2021 wala talagang mga collection, walang sales noon,” De Honor said while filing ITRs for his clients at the the Bureau of Internal Revenue Revenue District Office 39 in Quezon City.

(We filed losses because most really reported losses because in 2021, they didn't have any collections or sales then.)

De Honor said he does have clients who were to collect and actually pay some income tax, particularly those who rent out apartments. 

However, overall, De Honor says 2021 was another bad year. 

“Super lugi talaga ngayon. Maraming nag file na zero. Hindi nila alam kung ano ang gagawin, kung tutuloy sila o hindi na. Kasi naubos na ang capital ng mga may ari.” 

(The losses are big. Many filed zero [income taxes]. They don't know what they will do, if they will continue or not because their capital was all used up.)

MJ Austriaco, an executive assistant for a post-production company, said business improved in 2021 from the previous year, but added that the government can do more to boost recovery. 

"Nung kasagsagan ng pandemic, 2020, talagang medyo mahirap dahil sarado halos lahat, lalo na sa film and tv industry medyo limited talaga. Pero this 2021 naman medyo nakabawi naman ang company at maraming projects na dumating.” 

(At the height of the pandemic in 2020, it was really difficult because everything was closed, especially the film and TV industry. It was really limited. But in 2021 the company was able to recover and many projects came in.)

Austriatico said he hopes that the easing of quarantine restrictions will continue. 

ABS-CBN did not see any long lines at BIR RDOs it was able to observe Monday. RDO 39 noted they added extra personnel to help ensure smooth operations. A great majority of taxpayers have also started filing their ITRs online. The Department of Finance said 99.5 percent of ITRs were filed online in 2021 through the BIR’s electronic filing and payment system or eFPS.

The deadline for filing of annual income tax returns usually falls on April 15th every year, but it was moved this year to April 18th due to the Holy Week Break.

The BIR is not extending that deadline. However, it will allow taxpayers to file a tentative annual income tax return today which can be amended without penalty until May 16th. 

The BIR said it is confident of hitting its target this year. 

“Halos ano naman tayo, marami nang negosyo na nakabukas (Many businesses are now open)," said Januaro Girang III, Assistant Revenue District Officer for RDO 39.

The BIR’s tax collection goal for 2022 is P2.435 trillion, up 17 percent from 2021’s goal of P2.081 trillion. The BIR missed that goal, coming up slightly short with a total collection of P2.07 trillion. 

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