Arroyo pushes for BIR revamp

  • Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed HB 0695 regarding the creation of a new tax agency
  • The lawmaker cited several problems in the current structure of the BIR and pushed for the creation of a new bureau
  • Arroyo proposed to call the new agency as the National Revenue Administration (NRA)

Former President and now Deputy House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed a bill that would restructure the present Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) into the National Revenue Administration (NRA) in order to improve the country’s tax collection system and to eliminate corruption in the government agency.

In an article posted by ABS-CBN News on its website on January 15, 2017, it was mentioned that the congressional representative from the second district of Pampanga has sought to re-organize the BIR after the bureau failed to address the occurrence of “growing taxpayer dissatisfaction.”

“There is an urgent [need] for Congress to create a Revenue Authority to address the growing taxpayer dissatisfaction particularly over front-line services, high level of tax evasion/avoidance, and increasing perception of systematic corruption in the Bureau,” Arroyo said in the explanatory note of House Bill 0695.

Among the pressing issues that were highlighted by the lawmaker for the passage of the bill are the practice of a rigid personnel management system, a restricted compensation structure, and a strict financial allocation.

“At present, the BIR is hampered by at least three fundamental institutional constraints: (a) rigid personnel management system where promotion is based merely seniority rather than performance; (b) compensation structure that restricts the hiring of first-rate professionals; and (c) strict line-item budgeting that limits the flexibility in fund allocation,” the former chief executive wrote.

However, it’s not the first time that Arroyo worked for the creation of the NRA.

When she was still president in 2003, Arroyo certified as urgent House Bill 5465 which was also known as the National Authority for Revenue Administration (NARA) bill when the BIR experienced its lowest downfall in 2002 after the “tax effort rate,” or the comparison of the total revenue collection with the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), merely reached 9.92 percent; forcing the Department of Finance to report losses of around P242 billion every year, but the House Committee on Ways and Means filed substitute bills.

In the recently proposed setup, the NRA shall be governed by a revenue board made up of four government officials from the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, National Economic and Development Authority, and Securities and Exchange Commission, and three private sector representatives who are experts “in the fields of economics, accounting, law, business management and other allied professions.”