Sweden Grants Philippines For Improving BIR Efficiency

The Swedish government has agreed to aid the Philippines a grant about P100 million (13.5 million Kroner) to help the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) improve its tax administration function, the Department of Finance said.
The grant in particular will help the BIR in generating tax-related statistics, which will be useful in improving the bureau’s ability to forecast revenue and in conducting audits.
Two Swedish government agencies, Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Tax Agency, will assist the BIR in improving its statistics-gathering function.
“They have been engaged in institutional capacity building in other developing countries, mostly in Southeast Asia,” the Department of Finance said.
The department added that while the BIR would be the major beneficiary of the grant, part of the amount could also be used to help the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) and the National Statistics Office (NSO) improve the delivery of their services.
The Swedish project will run from 2007 to 2009. The grant is to be disbursed before the end of the year.
BIR Commissioner Jose Mario Buñag earlier said a grant from Sweden would be one of several foreign donations the BIR was tapping to help improve its tax collection efficiency.
“The World Bank would give much as $13 million in official development assistance to train BIR personnel and acquire hardware and software to improve its taxpayers database,” he continued.
Buñag also said the BIR intended to tap the pension fund Social Security System (SSS) in determining the exact number of employees of corporate taxpayers, which would help plug suspected revenue leakages in employees’ income taxes withheld at source.

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