The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) improved its tax collection in March compared with the year-earlier level, but still fell short of the month’s target, with the gap widening from previous months.
The shortfall in March has doubled to 16.5 percent since January this year, when the gap was recorded at only 8.3 percent.
Official data released on Tuesday showed that the bureau collected P82.18 billion in tax revenues for March, up 9. 82 percent or P7.35 billion year-on-year.
But against the month’s target of P98.43 billion, the collections were short by P16.25 billion, or 16.5 percent.
The BIR has been consistently failing to reach its collection goals over the past three months.
The shortfalls in the government’s tax revenue have been a “staple” scenario for the BIR, said Justino Calaycay, analyst at the Accord Capital Equities Corp.
In January, the bureau collected P104.15 billion, short by P9.44 billion against its P113.59-billion target, while its February collection reached P78.38 billion, or lower by P8.94 billion against a goal of P87.32 billion.
“What we need to be seeing is that the gap between the target and the actual collection is narrowing,” Calaycay said.
A breakdown of the March tax revenue figure shows that collections from BIR operations, or regular tax revenues, reached P78.91 billion, higher by 9.66 percent or P6.95 billion than the amount in March 2013.
Collections from non-BIR operations, such as taxes imposed on government securities sold by the Bureau of Treasury, stood at P3.27 billion, an increase of 13.98 percent or P400.85 million from the level posted a year ago.
Tax revenues from the BIR’s Regional Offices reached P31.79 billion, showing continued double-digit growth of 10.03 percent, or P2.90 billion, over the amount of collections made a year earlier.
In terms of the tax revenues from the Large Taxpayer Service, BIR collections rose 9.41 percent or P4.05 billion year-on-year to reach P47.12 billion.
Calaycay noted that the BIR has been making aggressive moves to plug the “leaks” in tax collection with its tax campaign.
Part of the campaign is improving transparency in tax payments through the bureau’s Tax Watch shame campaign launched in July, a weekly advertisement containing a list of individual and corporate taxpayers in various industries.
Despite the shortfalls against its targets, the BIR has expressed optimism in achieving its tax collection target for this year. The bureau is working to collect about P1.456 trillion in 2014, 16.2 percent or P203 billion higher than the P1.253 trillion target in 2013.