Tax bureau moves to address businesses’ VAT concerns

By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, Reporter | January 2, 2019

The 90-day deadline for processing value-added tax (VAT) refund claims now covers the actual payment of the amount, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said.

This means that businesses and individuals claiming valid VAT refunds can get the cash payment from the BIR within 90 days.

Revenue Regulation (RR) 26-2018, signed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay on Dec. 1, amended existing implementing rules and regulations of the VAT provisions under Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) that took effect a year ago.

The new regulation states that: “[t]he 90-day period to process and decide shall start from the filing of the application/claim for refund up to the release of the payment of the VAT refund… Provided that the claim/application is considered to have been filed only upon the submission of the official receipts of invoices and other documents in support of the application as prescribed under pertinent revenue issuances.”

Previously, the 90-day timetable ran up to the date of approval by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue or by his authorized representative of the recommendation report on the application of VAT refund claims, with the applicant not necessarily receiving the encashed VAT refund within that period.

The rule applies to zero-rated sales of goods or properties, zero-rated sale of services and all other claims for VAT refunds or credit of input tax.

The new regulation also said that the rule takes effect immediately.

“That’s good news for the taxpayers and more in keeping with the requirements of the TRAIN. We expect to see continuous improvements in the VAT refund system to show Congress that BIR is complying with the requirement of having an enhanced VAT refund system,” P&A Grant Thornton’s Tax Advisory & Compliance head Eleanor L. Roque said in a mobile phone message yesterday when sought for comment.

TRAIN — among several other adjustments in the tax system — shortened the processing time of VAT refund claims to 90 days starting 2018, from 120 days previously.

The new regulations also provided that all pending VAT refund claims as of Dec. 31, 2017 should be fully paid in cash by Dec. 31, 2019.