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BIR relaxes property transfer requirements

By Prinz Magtulis (philstar.com) | Updated November 2, 2016 - 6:41pm

A house in a Cagayan de Oro subdivision. File photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Property transfers just got easier with the Bureau of Internal Revenue removing the need to present proof that taxes were paid for acquiring the land for the first time.

Under Revenue Memorandum Circular 105-2016, submission of a copy of certificate authorizing registration (CAR) "shall no longer be required" on one-time property transfers.

The order, signed by BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay, was dated Aug. 23, but was only released on Wednesday.

The CAR is proof that levies were paid for the property being transferred. Under the order, the CAR being pertained to is the document from the current owner's original acquisition of property before he or she transfers it again.

BIR officials could not be reached for comment as of this post.

But Benedict Tugonon, president of industry group Tax Management Association of the Philippines, welcomed the move.

"This will surely expedite the processing of tax clearances on real property transactions and avoid unnecessary potential issues," Tugonon said in a text message.

He alleged that before, requiring CAR has resulted into a "finding or fishing expedition" on past transactions involving the property, which he said should be tackled "separately."

"Requiring the submission of the previous CAR when the property was acquired was unreasonable and at times, impossible to comply," Tugonon said.

The tax agency, which accounts for around 80 percent of tax revenues, had been streamlining its requirements and procedures since the Duterte administration took over last June 30.

It has made "improving taxpayer satisfaction" one of its mandates, and in the process, extended validity period of tax certificates, lessened requirements to register tax identification and get permission to issue receipts.

BIR also suspended for two months all tax audits, while checking on their validity and penalizing erring revenue officers, among others.

In another move, it issued Revenue Memorandum Order 61-2016 that establishes a "standard taxpayer feedback system."

"(This is) consistent with the bureau's mandate to provide world-class frontline services to the taxpayers," the order dated Oct. 28 stated.

Under the order, customer survey forms should be conducted by all revenue district offices (RDOs) to comply with Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

Forms and drop boxes for such purpose should be present at all RDOs, it said.

"An unannounced visit shall be conducted which shall include retrieval of the (customer survey forms) to ensure that the implementation of the feedback system is being followed," the order said.

BIR has been banking on better taxpayer service to raise its target revenue of P1.62 trillion this year.

From January to August, the agency already collected P1.058 trillion, up by a tenth year-on-year.

Revenue Regulations (RRs)
are issuances signed by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, that specify, prescribe or define rules and regulations for the effective enforcement of the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and related statutes

Revenue Memorandum Orders (RMOs) are issuances that provide directives or instructions; prescribe guidelines; and outline processes, operations, activities, workflows, methods and procedures necessary in the implementation of stated policies, goals, objectives, plans and programs of the Bureau in all areas of operations, except auditing.

Revenue Memorandum Rulings (RMRs) are rulings, opinions and interpretations of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue with respect to the provisions of the Tax Code and other tax laws, as applied to a specific set of facts, with or without established precedents, and which the Commissioner may issue from time to time for the purpose of providing taxpayers guidance on the tax consequences in specific situations. BIR Rulings, therefore, cannot contravene duly issued RMRs; otherwise, the Rulings are null and void ab initio

Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMCs) are issuances that publish pertinent and applicable portions, as well as amplifications, of laws, rules, regulations and precedents issued by the BIR and other agencies/offices.

Revenue Bulletins (RB) refer to periodic issuances, notices and official announcements of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that consolidate the Bureau of Internal Revenue's position on certain specific issues of law or administration in relation to the provisions of the Tax Code, relevant tax laws and other issuances for the guidance of the public.

BIR Rulings are official position of the Bureau to queries raised by taxpayers and other stakeholders relative to clarification and interpretation of tax laws.
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