DOF eyes launching Overseas Filipino Bank, E-invoicing project in Q3

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020   •   406

MANILA, Philippines – Even with the ongoing public health crisis, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it is looking to roll out this year two digital-based programs that are aimed at “improving tax compliance” and “expanding financial inclusion,” especially among Filipino migrant workers.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said one of these initiatives – the Electronic Receipt and Invoicing and Electronic Sales Reporting System (E-invoicing) – will possibly be launched by the third quarter of the year to provide better and faster services to taxpayers.

“The biggest (digitalization) program we’re working on now is e-invoicing. Once we get that e-invoicing program set up, that will mean a big step in e-governance already,”  Dominguez said during a recent online hearing of the economic stimulus cluster of the Defeat COVID-19 Committee of the House of Representatives.

“We have been working on that for the last year or so, and we should come to a conclusion, a good program by the middle of, or maybe the 3rd quarter of this year,” he added.

His statement was in response to a recommendation by Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte during the online hearing for the government to strengthen and expand its digital-based programs for frontline services.

The e-invoicing program is part of the efforts of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to digitalize its tax administration and collection system.

Dominguez said the system will complement the administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) to make the tax system simpler, fairer and more efficient.

It will also translate into more convenient, reliable and transparent services for taxpayers, and set the stage for world-class tax administration in the country.

Its pilot stage was funded by the grant extended by the Republic of Korea through the

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Dominguez also revealed during the online hearing that the Land Bank of the Philippines has made good on its commitment to the DOF to have the country’s first ever digital-only, branchless bank up and running by the end of June this year.

The Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank, which will primarily benefit the country’s migrant workers, will utilize digital technology and smartphone apps to provide banking and other financial services, the DOF chief said.

“We set up this OF Bank a couple of years ago. We’ve had problems with the technology but I think with Cecile’s leadership, we are almost ready to launch,” Dominguez said, referring to LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo.

Borromeo earlier reported to Dominguez that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas already granted last January 30 a “No Objection” Clearance to the OFBank on its use and implementation of a Digital Onboarding System (DOBS) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) facilitating an electronic Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process.

In September 2017, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 44 authorizing LANDBANK to acquire the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (Postbank) so it could be converted into the OFBank. The OFBank is classified as a savings bank of LANDBANK.

Borromeo said that overseas Filipinos with Postbank accounts who migrated to OFBank were issued EMV-enabled VISA Debit Cards they could use for automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawals, fund transfers, bills payments and online purchases, among others.

“Through the OFBank, overseas Filipinos would be able to invest in their own country that they have helped transform into one of the fastest-growing economies in the region,” Dominguez said.

A joint initiative of the DOF and the LANDBANK, the OFBank is the fulfillment of a 2016 presidential campaign promise of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to put up their own bank when he becomes President.

Economic, infra clusters to hold pre-2020 SONA forum this week

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte government’s economic development and infrastructure Cabinet clusters are set to present the administration’s plans for recovery and resilience in the face of the coronavirus-induced headwinds this year at the first pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum to be held this week.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said that the forum titled, “Regaining Momentum, Accelerating Recovery in a Post COVID-19 World,” will be held virtually on July 8.

Hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and Office of the Cabinet Secretary, the forum will be streamed live on the Facebook pages of the Radio Television Malacañang, and other government agencies.

Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II said this year’s pre-SONA forum will be different as the audience will be “purely virtual,” due to limitations on mass gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We do hope that our citizens will be able to tune in as the country’s top decision makers discuss our path to a quick and strong recovery from this crisis,” he said.

In the forum, the DOF said that top economic and infrastructure officials are also expected to report on the state of the Philippine economy, as well as the government’s ongoing efforts to leverage on its strong fundamentals in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will present performance updates and priority plans, respectively, on the economic and infrastructure fronts.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua will speak on the Philippine Economic Recovery Program.

“The audience can expect Secretary Dominguez to delve deeper into the challenges we’re facing right now, the accomplishments in the previous year that we can build on, and the legislative proposals that the economic team submitted for Congress to consider,” Lambino said.

Meanwhile, updates on the monetary, external, and financial sectors will be discussed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Pre-SONA forums are held annually to discuss in greater detail the achievements of the government in the previous year and the priorities of the Cabinet cluster heads in the run-up to the President’s SONA on July 27.

Deadlines for filing of VAT refund claims extended anew, DOF says

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) announced on Sunday that it has extended anew the deadlines for the filing of claims for value-added tax (VAT) refund.

In a statement on Sunday, the DOF said it has issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 16-2020, dated June 24, extending the deadline due to “preconceived difficulty for taxpayer-claimants to file VAT refund claims” as mobility remains restricted in some areas in the country amid the enforcement of quarantine measures against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The extended deadlines for filing of VAT refund claims are as follows:

  • Calendar quarter ending March 31, 2018 – July 15, 2020
  • Fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2018 – July 31, 2020
  • Fiscal quarter ending May 31, 2018 – August 15, 2020
  • Calendar quarter ending June 30, 2018 – August 31, 2020

However, the finance department clarified that these extended deadlines will not apply to areas that are not yet under general community quarantine (GCQ).

For taxpayer-claimants in areas that have yet to transition to GCQ, the DOF said that the deadline shall be 30 days from the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the affected areas, or the above stated deadlines, whichever comes later.

In areas under ECQ or MECQ, the implementation of the 90-day period for processing VAT refund claims is suspended, the DOF said.

Online sellers, maaaring makakakuha ng benepisyo kung magpaparehistro – DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinawi ng Department of Finance (DOF) ang pangamba ng ilang online sellers hinggil sa panawagan ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) na ipa-rehistro ang kanilang negosyo hanggang July 31.

Ayon sa DOF, hindi dapat matakot ang online sellers dahil may maganda namang epekto sa pagpapatakbo ng negosyo ang pagpaparehistro nito.

Ayon kay DOF Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II, kung lehitimo at rehistrado sa BIR ang isang online seller ay maaari silang makakuha ng benepisyo mula sa pamahalaan.

Kabilang aniya rito ang loan application na may mababang interes na alok ng Department of Trade and Industry, pati na ang wage subsidy program ng DOF para sa mga empleyado ng maliliit na negosyo.

Binigyang-diin rin ni Lambino na hindi pagbabayarin ng buwis ang maliliit na online sellers o kumikita ng mas mababa sa P250,000 sa loob ng isang taon.

Sa halip, nais lamang ng pamahalaan na maipatupad ng tama ang mga probisyong nakasaad sa Internal Revenue Code ng bansa.

“It is not only a requirement and an act of good citizenship it also comes with benefits… Hindi po natin layunin na habulin ang lahat ng nga online seller para sa mga taxes. Ang gusto lang po talaga natin masunod ang batas that is actually applicable to all na nagnenegosyo,” ani Lambino.

Una nang sinabi ng DTI na bukod sa pagpapaibayo sa consumer protection, malaking tulong rin ang registration ng online sellers para sa binabalangkas na electronic commerce (eCommerce) road map ng pamahalaan.

Ayon sa DTI, mas mainam na may database ang online sellers upang mabigyan sila ng boses at maisama sa konsultasyon pati na rin sa implementasyon ng eCommerce programs.

Payo sa online sellers na magpaparehistro, pumunta lang sa pinakamalapit na BIR office sa kanilang lugar dala ang mga sumusunod na requirement:

  • Valid government IDs
  • Certificate of Business Name Registration na makukuha sa DTI
  • P500 para sa processing fee
  • P30 para sa documentary stamp tax

Paalala ng BIR, hindi na kailangang kumuha ng Mayor’s permit para sa registration ng online sellers.

Maaaring makuha sa mismong araw ng aplikasyon ang Certificate of Registration mula sa BIR.

Hanggang July 31 puwedeng magpa-rehistro ang online sellers sa BIR pero wala namang ipapataw na penalty kung mahuhuli sa deadline.

Babala naman ng ahensya, maaaring pagmultahin ang online sellers na hindi magpaparehistro, lalo na ang malalaking online services na kumikita ng mahigit sa P250,000 kada taon.

Kapag nahuli ka magbabayad ka ng penalty kasi patuloy kang nagnenegosyo hindi ka nagrerehistro… Bawal po ‘yun, kailangan magrehistro ka at magbayad ka ng buwis,” ani BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

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