BIR’S PROJECT R.I.P.

Have you heard of this recent issuance of the Bureau of Internal Revenue? Well, if you didn’t, please click the link below to have a full access of the regulations.

ftp://ftp.bir.gov.ph/webadmin1/pdf/48995RMO%2010-2010.pdf

The widening gap of the budget deficit makes the bureau so desperate in looking for ways and means to collect tax revenues. For me, that’s okay. But I just hope that bureau should come up with sensible ways to increase collection and not come up with stupid means to do so.

Estate tax is one avenue where the government can tap to increase collections. No problem with that. But after reading the bureau’s program on estate tax which it termed as PROJECT R.I.P., I found the regulation so stupid.

Imagine, the BIR will contact civil registers, hospitals, memorial parks, cemeteries, funeral parlors, crematoriums, judicial clerk of courts, obituaries and life insurance companies to check for potential estate tax cases? Whoa! That’s another workload to the very tired revenue officers! Remember, the BIR is undermanned. Who will take charge of this task?

Next, the BIR will send notification letter to the relative/contact person or to the residence of the decedent. This notification letter contains a reminder to the relative about the tax obligations of the estate and the necessary requirements needed in the filing and payment of the same. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Can the BIR be a little sensitive enough? The family are still in the grieving stage (maybe because of the death of member of the family or perhaps from the enormous expenses the family incurred for hospital bills, funeral expenses and the like) and you’ll remind them immediately of the decedent’s tax liabilities? Very sensitive! Revenue officers who will take charge of this task, be wary! You might receive some tongue-lashing coming from furious taxpayers after delivery of the letters.

Still on notification letters, it might be a waste of time and resources for the bureau to send these letters to the relatives/contact persons if in the first place, there are no “registrable” properties to start with (Hehe! Whoever came up with this regulation didn’t consider the basic of estate taxation or maybe this regulation was passed just for the heck of it and for another “pogi” points to the new commissioner).

Anyway, there’s a subtle way to remind taxpayers of their estate tax liabilities without going through all the trouble. Maybe the bureau should come up with a generic reminder/ notice and to be distributed to all concerned through offices such as civil registers, hospitals, memorial parks, cemeteries, funeral parlors, crematoriums, judicial clerk of courts, obituaries and life insurance companies. I still believe that public awareness is the key for better collection.

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