Dominguez says BIR did a 'good job' despite missing 2019 collection target

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) failed to hit its collection goal once more, despite another year of higher taxes brought by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Preliminary data of the BIR and the Bureau of Customs showed that the agencies collected a total of P2.17 trillion in 2019, below the P2.33-trillion target for that year.

Despite the miss, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the BIR "did a wonderful job," since the 2019 collection was 10.7% higher than the actual collection of P1.96 trillion in 2018.

In 2019, the second round of higher taxes was slapped on oil, as programmed in the TRAIN law. However, the same law also relieved low-income and some middle-income earners of taxes.

Dominguez expects the BIR to improve its performance, "given the Philippines' vibrant economic outlook in 2020."

President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team has been aggressive in reforming the country's tax regime. Aside from the TRAIN law passed in 2018, which increased taxes on oil and sugary drinks, the government also wants to impose higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco products in 2020.

They are also pushing to rationalize tax perks of companies, while lowering corporate income taxes. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.