By Filane Mikee Cervantes

Speaker Martin Romualdez. (File photo courtesy of the House Press and Public Affairs Bureau)

MANILA – House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to hit its revenue collection target so that the government could ramp up spending and contribute more to economic growth.

In a statement, Romualdez said that while the BIR’s total collections increased by 17 percent last year, such growth would only bring in PHP2.94 trillion for the agency this year, falling short of the 2024 collection goal of PHP3.05 trillion.

“Year on year, the BIR’s revenue collections grew by 17 percent this year. That’s welcome news, and I credit the BIR for that,” he said. “But 17 percent growth from total collections last year will mean the BIR will fall short of PHP3.05 trillion target set by the economic managers.”

Congress, he said, has given the BIR the necessary tools to collect more effectively from taxpayers, particularly citing the Ease of Paying Taxes Act, which aims to modernize and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of tax administration.

“We enacted the Ease of Paying Taxes, effective this year, to digitalize most of BIR’s transactions and encourage taxpayers to comply voluntarily. The law will also broaden the base of taxpayers since we made registering as a taxpayer simpler, more convenient, and above all free,” he said.

Romualdez noted that the country’s economic growth this year depends in large part on the government carrying out this year’s budget, emphasizing the need to fund both programmed spending and unprogrammed appropriations to meet the growth targets for 2024.

“Of course, the sooner the BIR can collect the cash, the faster the government can fund its programs. Government final expenditure grew by only 1.7 percent during the first quarter, so I’m hoping that the BIR will be able to collect more in the second quarter so government spending can also catch up,” he said.

“Tax is the lifeblood of government, and the vitality of economic growth this year depends on whether the BIR can supply that lifeblood.”

According to the Development Budget Coordination Committee Medium-Term Fiscal Program, the total revenue collection target for this year is expected to reach PHP4.3 trillion.

The bulk of the tax revenues amounting to PHP3.05 trillion will be generated by the BIR, while the Bureau of Customs is expected to collect nearly PHP1 trillion.

The BIR collected PHP591.8 billion in the first quarter of 2024, higher by 17.15 percent than the PHP505.2 billion it generated in the same period in 2023.

On the other hand, the BOC raised PHP218.9 billion during the same period, outperforming last year’s collections of PHP213.8 billion by 2.35 percent. (PNA)