MANILA - Collections of the Philippines’ Internal Revenue and Customs bureaus shrank by 26.3 percent from January until mid-April this year compared to the same period last year, owing to the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Finance said in a statement Sunday.
The combined collection of P641.62 billion by the BIR and BOC is also 40 percent short of the government’s P1.073 trillion target for the period this year.
According to the finance department, the BIR was only able to collect P480.64 billion from Jan. 1 through April 17, which is 32 percent below the amount collected in the same period last year, and 45.3 percent short of this year’s target for said period.
The BIR account for 78 percent of the government’s tax collection capacity.
The BOC, for its part, collected only P160.98 billion for the period of Jan. 1 to April 15, the DOF said.
It is 2.08 percent lower than last year’s collection for the same period, and 17 percent short of this year’s target for the said period.
The DOF said the BIR moved the filing and payment of income tax returns to May 30 due to the extended enhanced community quarantine, while submission of attachments to electronically filed ITRs is extended until June 15.
According to the statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez assured that “even with the significant decline in both bureaus’ revenue collections, the country remains ‘financially able’ to meet the unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“As a result of these conservative fiscal policies, Dominguez said the government has been able to roll out a four-pillar socioeconomic strategy to defeat COVID-19, which would involve budgetary, fiscal and monetary measures with a combined value of P1.49 trillion or around 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product,” the statement said.
The Philippines has logged 7,294 COVID-19 cases, including 494 deaths and 792 recoveries, as of April 25, 2020. The first case was reported on Jan. 30.
In mid-March, the government placed Metro Manila and the rest of the entire Luzon under lockdown to slow the spread of the disease. Other areas in the Visayas and Mindanao also imposed similar restrictive measures.
As a result, many business operations were temporarily shut.