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BIR intensifies drive to increase tax compliance, combat tax evasion under Diokno’s watch

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has intensified its drive against tax evasion and efforts to strengthen tax compliance under Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno’s watch, which has led to the achievement of a historic level of tax collections in recent years.

“The BIR has done extremely well in strengthening our country’s coffers by simplifying tax compliance through digitalization as well as combating tax evasion. I am confident that we will be able to reach or even exceed the collection targets set in the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) for this year and until 2028 through the Bureau’s initiatives,” said Secretary Diokno.

Through its Run After Fake Transactions (RAFT) program, the BIR has identified and filed criminal cases against sellers and users of commercial invoices/receipts used to support fake transactions.

From January to September 2023, the BIR has filed cases on four ghost corporations with estimated tax liabilities of PHP 25.5 billion and three Corporate Buyers and their Officers, Accounting Firms, and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) with total estimated tax liabilities of PHP 17.9 billion.

The BIR was able to achieve a historic level of tax collection in recent years due to its strict nationwide enforcement operations on the illicit trade of cigarettes, vape, and other excisable articles through national raids and the filing of criminal cases against offenders.

Last January 2023, the BIR had its first nationwide raid of illicit cigarette traders, where revenue officers from all over the country participated in the simultaneous raid of establishments.

It had a follow-up operation in July 2023, this time targeting illicit cigarettes, as well as illegal activities related to vape and alcohol products.

To effectively combat tax evasion, the BIR’s Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) Program acts as a deterrent by penalizing tax evaders and generating public awareness in the filing of criminal tax cases.

The RATE program enhances voluntary compliance among taxpayers; promotes public confidence; and helps increase revenue collection.

A total of 246 RATE cases were filed by the BIR with the Department of Justice (DOJ) with estimated tax liabilities of PHP