FFE Magazine

New Philippine ITR forms slammed for anti-privacy Sections

by FFE PH News Staff

 

New Philippine ITR forms slammed for anti-privacy Sections

Lawmakers and business groups question the legality of new income tax return forms.

 

The Bureau of Internal revenue’s new forms have been met with criticism by lawmakers and business groups because of a new section that demands taxpayers to provide information on their income from bank deposits and investments.

 

According to Deputy Majority Leader and Valenzuela City Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo the new section violates taxpayers’ right to keep their bank information secret, a provision protected by the Bank Secrecy Act and the Tax Code.

 

The new Income Tax Return (ITR) forms were released last month and they cover the taxable year of 1 January to 31 December 2013. In the controversial sections, taxpayers are required to provide information on gifts, benefits, shares in stocks, bank deposits and more — information that was only optional to taxpayers in the old ITR forms.

 

In BIR’s circular released 11 February 2014, they reiterated that ‘the disclosures required under the Supplemental Information portion of the said forms will be mandatory.’ Deputy Commissioner Nelson Aspe also clarified last month that the mandatory disclosure ‘applies to all 2.6 million tax filers.’

 

However, Gunigundo stressed that there are only two instances when the BIR can pry into a person’s bank information. These are 1) when it is accounting a deceased person’s gross estate tax, and 2) when the taxpayer is in a compromise agreement regarding tax liabilities. He added that such supplementary information would already be provided by the banks.

 

Many business and banking groups cried foul over the new ITR regulation, stating this could ward of foreign investors and breach the rights of their clients.

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