I JUST found out that the BIR will be requiring e-returns or filing the income tax through the Internet. I read about five newspapers a day, watch the television news and pay attention to government announcements but the news just got to me this week in a very roundabout way.
Actually as a senior citizen, I am thankfully exempted from having to go on line. That was the only comfortable part of the sudden announcement.
But I do sympathize with whoever has to file their income tax return through the Internet. The BIR website has been chancy if not unreliable. It may even crash though I sincerely hope not, for the taxpayers’ sake.
Should not the BIR have gone on a massive information drive lasting months and with seminars, practice sessions, lessons on how to do it before embarking on this radical step?
Couldn’t they have learned a lesson from the Obamacare registration in the US that was a mess? Meaning that demanding Internet know-how for a complicated ritual as figuring out taxes by multitudes is a recipe for chaos.
But that is the problem with our government agencies, they have to be served instead of serving. Paying VAT for whatever transaction (as in real estate, etc.) is a pain. You have to shuttle from your bank to the government bank and to the BIR in whatever order (if any order) and I cannot quite tell you the procedure because it is never clear, always new, always a pain.
You may call me technologically challenged but not ignorant, unintelligent or stupid. I am just made to feel that way by government offices that collect our taxes, fees or whatever.
I am not qualified to say how the BIR should have proceeded but I certainly rue the fact that their information is absent or too late. Watch the mess on April 15. And I just find it surreal that if a taxpayer makes a mistake (as in not doing it the e-way), there will be a fine of P1,000 and a 25% surcharge on the tax that is due. Talk about taxation without representation, BIR makes the rules but does not explain how they should be followed, and if you err, you will be punished. I said “surreal”–beyond reality, unrealistic. Could be stupid too.
This is a failure of administration or management. Communicate, explain, demonstrate, practice if you want to install a radically different way of doing things on a massive scale. Practice what you preach.
Already last year I heard a former bank president say that the BIR forms were driving him berserk. He could not fit the information asked in them because the forms were so rigid.
The path of least resistance is to turn it over to a certified public accountant but the way things have sprung up, I doubt if even CPA’s will be thrilled by this sudden, mysterious move.
The rationale seems to be to make it easier for the BIR to count the money and never mind the plight of those who pay it.