MANILA, Philippines – Shorter queues and faster processing marked the deadline on filing income taxes yesterday, a feat attributed to more taxpayers going online for their payments.

“There were almost no lines,” Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares said in a phone interview.

“If they come here because there are no lines, it would only take them 10 minutes to file their income tax returns,” she added.

Henares visited select revenue regional offices in Caloocan, Manila, Makati and Quezon City to observe the situation during the filing deadline.

There would be no extension to the 5 p.m. deadline, thus an influx of last-minute taxpayers was expected, Henares said.

Those who failed to be in line by 5 p.m yesterday would be levied 25 percent surcharge and 20 percent interest for late filing.

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“I think most of them already filed using the e-BIR forms, and filed ahead,” Henares said.

Last year, the tax agency drew flak over glitches on its e-BIR form system, the software used to electronically settle income taxes.

It was forced to extend manual filing for “No Payment” returns or those that do not need to pay anything by two months.

This year, the BIR said it would improve the bandwidth of its systems to be able to process more transactions faster.

It also ditched the need for registration, with taxpayers only needing to provide e-mail accounts.

The Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP), which set up help desks in Makati and Quezon City, corroborated Henares’ statement.

“Compared to the previous years, there were fewer taxpayers who asked for our assistance this year,” TMAP president Benedict Tugonon said in a text message.

“The waiting time at the BIR tax filing centers and the accredited agent banks is relatively shorter. Generally, the income tax filing this year is orderly, faster and less confusing,” he added.

BIR deputy commissioner Lilia Guillermo said data on the number e-filers will be released Monday.

Income taxes account for the biggest share of BIR collections each year.

In 2015, it generated P846.20 billion or 58.7 percent of the bureau’s total haul of P1.44 trillion.

For this year, the target income tax collection was set at P1.19 trillion, data showed.

The bureau, which accounts for around 80 percent of state tax revenues, targets to collect P2.03 trillion this year.


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