IN this day and age when everything is fast-paced and people are always in a hurry to get somewhere, falling in line at the bank to pay taxes seems like an outdated way of getting things done. To make tax compliance less burdensome, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has rolled out a number of alternatives with the help of advances in technology, including the implementation of the Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) to aid taxpayers in filing and paying their taxes quickly, conveniently, and securely through the internet.
Relative to the BIR’s drive to digitize tax payments and improve existing processes for ease of doing business, it announced the availability of a new payment facility utilizing the Philippine EFT System and Operations Network (PESONet). Revenue Memorandum Circular 81-2019 notified all taxpayers who have an account in any of the Bangko Sentral-regulated financial institutions participating in the PESONet payment system that they will now be able to pay their taxes online through the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) Link.Biz Portal. This means that any taxpayer — whether an individual or a corporation, eFPS or non-eFPS filer can use the said payment facility.
It is important that taxpayers are also aware of the mechanics of the online gateway in order to utilize the same. The first partner banks for this project are LBP, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), and Robinsons Bank (RBank); hence, depositors (either savings or current) of these banks will be the first to benefit from the convenience of paying taxes online. (The expansion of the service to other financial institutions is ongoing.) For RCBC and RBank account holders, they must also be enrolled in the online banking platform of their respective banks since the mode of payment is through debit from account.
In terms of security, LBP deploys 128-bit secure sockets layer encryption technology and other internal controls, which are meant to safeguard its servers, information systems, and data stored therein. The portal is also secured using Verisign’s security certificate to verify the authenticity of the website so that users do not to fall victim to email scams. In addition, it utilizes Captcha to ensure that all transactions are initiated by a human and not a machine.
The portal is straightforward to navigate and simple to use. Once the taxpayer chooses BIR as its merchant and “Tax Payment” as the transaction, the user will be led to the “Transaction Details” page. The user must complete the following fields: amount, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), TIN branch code, form type, tax type, return period, e-mail address, and payment mode.
Upon lodging of payment, a confirmation page will appear indicating that the transaction has been successful together with the Reference Number and payment details. The BIR will acknowledge the payment on the time and date that the transaction is completed, details that are indicated in the email notification. With this, taxpayers will be able to pay their taxes even during weekends or holidays. They can access the portal from 12:01 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. everyday including holidays. However, the availability is subject to service periods, maintenance time, and/or any other reasons beyond the control of LBP.
There is no minimum amount required per payment and there is also no limit to the number of transactions as long as the sum of all payments does not exceed PhP499,999.00 per day. Further, paying for another person’s taxes is also possible by simply indicating that person’s details in the transaction form.
The BIR is complementing this endeavour further by actively increasing the number of accredited Tax Service Providers (TSP). TSPs are individuals or organizations who offer electronic tax return filing and/or payment solutions to taxpayer-clients. In recognition of the TSPs’ innovative way of alleviating difficulties with tax compliance, the BIR initiated a testing and evaluation process to ensure that the automated tax return filing and payment generated by the TSPs can be submitted to and processed by the database of the BIR. The policies and guidelines of the Electronic Tax Software Provider Certification System (eTSPCert System) was promulgated in Revenue Memorandum Order 8-2019.
Part of the certification requirements is the collaboration of TSPs with any of the Authorized Agent Banks (AAB). The AABs shall also apply for certification of their ePayment system. Further, due to the sensitivity of information being transmitted by the TSPs, they must deploy security measures to ensure the protection, privacy, and confidentiality of taxpayer data in compliance with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
These initiatives to make tax filings and payments more convenient for every taxpayer will surely go a long way towards helping the businesses that drive our economy thrive and prosper.
The author is a senior with the Tax & Corporate Services division of Navarro Amper & Co., a member of the Deloitte Asia Pacific Network. Deloitte Asia Pacific Limited is a company limited by guarantee and a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Members of Deloitte Asia Pacific Limited and their related entities, each of which are separate and independent legal entities, provide services from more than 100 cities across the region, including Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo and Yangon.