Sunday, July 4, 2010

Electronic Filing of BIR Returns

I received a notice from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) about a couple of months ago telling me that I should register my company into their electronic filing system (eFPS). I was previously hesitant in doing this as my accountant told me that the eFPS is problematic and is often down. Well, this BIR notice no longer made it optional. I am required to register for eFPS where I like it or not.

Registering was the easy part. However, it did not necessarily go without a hitch. The people at RDO 47 had to manually request their backoffice to do something before my company's TIN was recognized by the online registration platform. It seems that they are running multiple database in the back-end which are not synchronized. So while my TIN appears on one system, the eFPS enrollment system could not see it.

Anyway, as I said, registering with eFPS was the easy part. Next was to enroll in one of the eFPS-accredited banks. Our corporate bank, BDO, was naturally supported, being one of the biggest local commercial banks. I filed a request to BDO's Transactional Banking Group (TBG) through our branch. At first, the branch did not seem to know what to do with it and had the form sent back to me. I had to personally go back to the branch and argue before they accepted it and sent it to TBG. From there, it was a long wait to get the feature activated on our corporate Internet banking menu.

So finally, I gave it a try today. I paid for my company's Final Tax (1601-F) and Expanded Withholding Tax (1601-E) returns. You basically login to BIR's eFPS; fill-up the online form; submit; choose the bank where to debit the payment from. The eFPS basically just performs a redirect to your bank's corporate Internet banking website and passes the details like payment reference number, amount due, etc. Then its a simple matter of following the menu to choose the specific bank account where you want to debit the payment from.

The payment flow is really not that much different from online payment systems such as PayPal or Mozcom PayEasy. One thing I noticed though, there is no "postback" facility that will take you back to the eFPS site after making the payment at the bank side. It just ends at the bank side. I guess they then perform an automated reconciliation at the end of the day by batch.

Over all, I would give the system two thumbs up. Its pretty simple and it sure makes life for taxpayers simpler. This saves me the trouble of going to RCBC Legaspi Village branch twice a month just to pay my taxes. The only caveat that my accountant warns me is that I have to file my returns early as the system is often down during the deadline.

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