Saturday, 7 July 2007

BIR, BOC act to help NG meet deficit target

By Iris C. Gonzales
Original article at the Philippine Star

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have laid down specific action plans to help the government meet its P63-billion budget deficit target for the year.

The two agencies are under heavy pressure from Malacañang to meet their respective revenue goals after the government incurred a wider-than-expected budget deficit for the first semester.

Based on preliminary figures from the Department of Finance, the government’s budget deficit likely reached P37.7 billion in the first semester or P6.4 billion higher than the programmed deficit of P31.3 billion for the period.

The BIR incurred a shortfall of P40 billion as of end-June while the BOC’s shortfall amounted to P13 billion during the period.

BIR officer-in-charge Lilian Hefti said the agency would step up collection efforts to meet its monthly revenue targets from July to December this year and to partly recover its revenue shortfall in the first semester.

Hefti said the BIR would increase the use of business intelligence to weed out tax evaders, enhance its audit programs to verify if taxpayers are paying the correct amount of taxes and improve tax administration measures.

The agency will also intensify enforcement activities of its Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program.

The BIR has a revenue target of P730 billion for the year while the BOC’s revenue goal is P228 billion.

Hefti said the BIR also sought the help of the Department of Justice in pursuing pending tax evasion cases.

BOC Commissioner Napoleon Morales, for his part, assured President Arroyo that by yearend, the agency would wipe out its estimated P13 billion revenue shortfall through an aggressive action plan.

These include the auction of forfeited items or goods that importers could no longer claim due to pending cases. The BOC will also enhance its audit system to ensure that importers are paying the right duties, Morales said.

Furthermore, the agency will better coordinate with other government agencies such as the Land Transportation Office for information sharing.

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