BIR Bicol eyes P10.9B tax take

By Connie B. Destura LEGAZPI CITY --- Newly appointed Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Bicol Director Edgar B. Tolentino told participants to Monday’s region-wide kick off for this year’s tax campaign that his office will reach its tax collection target for this year. “I am extremely positive that we can reach our goal for this year in Bicol which is P10.9 billion,” Tolentino said as he explained the event is part of the localized information campaign to encourage taxpayers to pay the right taxes. He said BIR records show the collection for the past year had indicated a 16.25 percent increase over the previous year. “We are expecting a growth rate of 20 percent from the 333,000 strong registered taxpayers (in the region),” he said. Over a thousand local government officials, BIR’s partners among government line agencies, businessmen and groups of taxpayers’ organizations in the region attended the launch of the tax campaign which carries the theme “Tunay na Pagbabago” (true change). The event that was held Monday afternoon at Casablanca Convention Hall in this city, was led by BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay. He said the government derives 80 percent of its revenues from the BIR but these are contributed by the taxpayers. “Taxes are the ‘lifeblood’ of our country. The government will not run without taxes that are contributed by the people,” he added. Dulay cited that taxes are the sources for government’s infrastructure program and payroll of local and regional governments. “Even the salaries of the street sweeper come from your contributions (taxes),” he added. Dulay said the BIR and taxpayers are “partners” in ensuring that the government continues to operate. “Without your cooperation and your taxes the government will not run,” he said. The tax campaign launch emphasized the role of the taxpayers in helping the government attain the change it aspires. Tolentino said that even as BIR is committed to attaining its collection target, its primary obligation is to ensure “improvement in taxpayer’s satisfaction” in the services rendered by the agency. He said BIR will also focus on regaining public trust and confidence in its services. Tolentino said aside from these goals, the BIR also seeks to “adopt an expanded compromise settlement program” for certain kinds of taxpayers. He added the partnership of the BIR and taxpayers will help “sustain and strengthen our beloved nation.”