MANILA, Philippines - The country's main tax agency, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), missed its July collection target by nearly 11%, a senior official said on Monday, citing preliminary data.
The agency, accounting for about two-thirds of state revenues, collected P60.246 billion last month against a target of P67.39 billion, said Nelson Aspe, BIR deputy commissioner.
July was the first month of the new government's campaign to collect taxes more efficiently and chase down tax evaders to shore up state revenues, after Manila's tax collection fell to a five-year low of 12.8% of GDP in 2009.
With last month's shortfall, collections of the agency for the first 7 months of the year reached P463.72 billion, 5% lower than its goal of P488.38 billion for the period, Aspe also said.
Sought for comment on the initial data, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said: "We have no final figures because we are not yet finished with the consolidation process."
The Philippines is expected to announce data on its July fiscal performance in the next 2 weeks.
The government, which took office at the end of June, is facing a record deficit of P325 billion this year, equivalent to 3.9% of gross domestic product (GDP).
It plans to cut the deficit to 2% of GDP over 3 years by fighting tax evasion and cutting out wasteful spending.
Manila has been filing tax evasion and smuggling cases weekly to show it was serious in its efforts to stop widespread evasion and collect more revenue from existing tax measures.
"We do not file cases for the sake of filing. The intent is to put those who don't pay taxes in jail, that is the objective," BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said in a radio interview on Monday.
The BIR needs to collect P456.5 billion in the second half of the year to meet an upwardly revised P860 billion collection goal this year.