December 6, 2022

District offices in the Cordillera have exceeded their tax collection targets in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the region reported.

But Baguio City, which hosts majority of the tourism-oriented establishments that were badly hit by the pandemic, reported a shortfall in its tax collection target.

Baguio City’s 2020 collection amounted to P2,676,844,371, which is lower than its P2.7B target.

BIR-Cordillera Director Douglas Rufino said the city’s collection was hugely impacted by the pandemic that forced Baguio to close its borders to tourists.

“If there are no tourists, there is no collection. If the travel restrictions on tourists continue, collections will continue to be affected,” Rufino said, adding Baguio contributes largely to the region’s tax collection.

“We are highly dependent on Baguio City as it is the flag carrier of the Cordillera (in terms of tax collection).”

Rufino said overall, BIR’s P5.19B collection in 2020 was P500 million more than its P4.6B target, although this is lower than the agency’s collections in 2019, which amounted to P6,448,438,151.13.

For Abra, Irene Goze said Revenue District (RDO) 7 collected P449,665,248, exceeding its P306,052,000 while RDO 9, which covers Benguet, collected P820,345,386, exceeding the P745,876,000 target.

RDO 11, which covers Mountain Province, has collected P281,943,465 from its P213,617,000 target while Kalinga, also under RDO 11, has collected P657,473,414 from its goal of P484,375,000.

Ifugao, which is under RDO 12, has collected P313,084,272, exceeding its P208,780,000 target.

Even with pandemic that continues to impact businesses, Goze said the RDOs reported they have exceeded their collection goals for the first quarter of this year.

The BIR-CAR’s collection from January to March amounted to P1,348,778,962 with all the RDOs, including Baguio City reporting they have exceeded their goals.

Rufino attributed this to the lower collection targets imposed by the Department of Budget Coordinating Committee on RDOs across the country, cognizant of the impacts of the pandemic on businesses.

He added that while a lot of businesses, especially the tourist-oriented establishments, are expected to file for lower returns, the BIR is keeping an eye on establishments that incurred minimal impacts, such as those in the pharmaceutical, food, and construction industries; vendors at the public market; and hardware stores.

“We are focusing our collection on these industries as they were not heavily affected by the pandemic,” he said. – Jane B. Cadalig