How-to File Income Tax Returns in the Philippines

BIR Annual Income Tax Returns Form (1700)
BIR Annual Income Tax Returns Form (1700)

What is the meaning of Income Tax?

As stated on the BIR website:

"Income Tax is a tax on a person's income, emoluments, profits arising from property, practice of profession, conduct of trade or business or on the pertinent items of gross income specified in the Tax Code of 1997 (Tax Code), as amended, less the deductions if any, authorized for such types of income, by the Tax Code, as amended, or other special laws."

Who should file?

Based on my experiences your employer should file your income tax returns for you. However, there are instances that you will be the one to file. These are, if you are a business owner, a freelancer, or employed with two employers in the same taxable year. The third instance best describes my situation, we are advised by our new employer during our new employee orientation program that since we were hired after their filling cutoff period we will be the one to file our income tax returns.

I advise you to do not procrastinate in paying your income tax returns (pay it on or before the 15th day of April of each year) to avoid the following penalties as I did:

Surcharge fee: (total tax amount due) x 25% = total amount to pay
Interest fee: (total tax amount due) x 20% x (30 days / 360 days) = total amount to pay
Compromise penalty fee: ₱3,000 (depends on your outstanding payment)

The officer of the day computed my penalties. I was curious how did he come up with my total amount so I tried to recompute at home and the computation was accurate by using this guide.

How to file and pay?

There are 3 procedures in filing your income tax returns:

1. Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) Filing

2. Non-eFPS Filing

3. Manual Filing

Find out more about the requirements of each procedure here.

The procedure I tried was number 2. Others prefer number 3, it's up to you which procedure you want to try. I downloaded the Offline eBIRForms Package v7.3.1 software and installed it on my computer. See below screenshot how does it look like when you open the software.

Offline eBIR Forms Software

Put your correct TIN number and the RDO code of your company where it is registered, mine is RDO-50 South Makati, ask your HR if you do not know your RDO code to avoid a problem. Also, choose the correct form you need to fill-up that is 1700. Important, you must have your BIR 2316 form from your previous and present employer because you need it in computing your ITR. After your computation, you are prompted to double-check everything before submitting the form. You will receive a confirmation email from BIR after you submit your form. Print the email confirmation and the 1700 form in three copies. Don't forget to sign your 1700 forms, the signature box is just below line 31.

Go to the RDO where you have to pay your ITR. Once in the office look where the queue machine is located and on the screen tap “collection related” to get your queue number for Income Tax Return Payment. If you are not sure what to do ask for help from the security guard on duty tell him/her you are going to pay your income tax return and you have already completed your 1700 form so he/she can quickly help you.

Wait for your number to be announced and proceed to the counter where you are asked to go. The officer in charge of the day will check your forms and put a stamp on them. He/she will compute if you have penalties, take note there's a 25% surcharge fee for people with penalties as mentioned above. If you have penalties, the officer in charge will add your total penalties in line 30 of the form and change the total amount of payment in line 31. He/she will request you to do the same for the other forms. After you are done proceed at any of the nearest Authorized Agent Banks for your payment.

If you are an RDO-50 South Makati filer, good news Land Bank is just located on the ground floor of the building. Show immediately to the Land Bank guard your 1700 forms for stamping before entering. When your inside, fill out the BIR Tax Payment Form. Once done, get your queue number for payment. You have printed your 1700 form in three copies, right? Land Bank will get the two forms the one is yours. Get your receipt, and that's it no need to go back to the BIR office. I'm done in less than an hour maybe because I went there early in the morning (9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.).

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