An idiotic and irrelevant requirement at the BIR

Government offices headed by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) are celebrating the will spearhead the 122nd Anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service this September, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1050, series of 1997, and in observance of the establishment of the Philippine Civil Service by virtue of Public Law No. 5 on Sept. 19, 1900.

Last year, the CSC introduced a 10-year overarching theme, “Transforming Public Service in the Next Decade: Honing Agile and Future-Ready Servant-Heroes.”

The theme reflects the collective experience of government workforce in the new normal, and in pushing for digital transformation and innovations to uphold public service excellence and continuity, it said.

This year, the thematic focus is on resilience, which is part of building smart organizations and a future-ready civil service.

But, apparently, the push for digital transformation and future-ready civil servants has yet to reach local government units and some national agencies.

Despite new blood that has been infused into these offices as veteran employees unable to cope with the new technology-driven system retired, there are still government workers who make life hard for members of the public from whom they draw their salaries.

A case in point is the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), whose role in the life of business owners is an immutable fact and an irresistible force not only to be reckoned with but also to be feared.

Apparently, the updating of the agency’s Integrated Tax System (ITS) resulted in the failure to upload some data, especially regarding the Annual Registration Fee (ARF) being paid by businesses.

The problem is that the same business establishments, who cannot run from the BIR and thus pay the fee every January, are now being required to submit a copy of their ARF forms issued by the Virac Revenue District Office for as far back as 2011.

As a result, some transactions being followed up by the local business entities are being held up by the requirement to submit a copy of a form which was ironically issued by the BIR in the first place.

Considering the passage of years, it is possible that some of the ARF forms may have been lost or misplaced.

It should not be the registered business establishment’s fault if the BIR failed to safeguard its records or upload the same into the computerized system.

This irregular and idiotic requirement is akin to a municipal government requiring businesses to submit copies of their Mayor’s Permit to Operate before issuing a new one.

It is likewise a violation of Republic Act 9485 (the Anti Red Tape Act) and RA 11032 (The Ease of Doing Business Act), both of which mandate government agencies to adopt simplified procedures that will reduce red tape and expedite transactions in government.

And the imposition of additional irrelevant requirements is listed as among the violation of these two laws.

Taxpayers, especially business owners, are generally law-abiding and would not want to attract the attention of the tax agency.

But like the carabao, there could come a time when they would lose their patience and go crazy.

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