Wednesday, April 08, 2009

How to file an income tax return, Philippine style

Background: I had 2 employers for the fiscal year 2008. The company I left decided they wont bother submitting my tax deductions to the BIR and promptly returned the money they originally withheld. I was thus forced to file my own Income Tax Return.

Following is the harrowing detail of how I filed and paid for my Tax Return today...

9:45 - A quick stop at the ATM to get money for my tax payment

10:00 - After breakfast and doing a bit of chatting with my wife, I promptly left the house and proceeded to the city hall to file my tax return. Upon reaching city hall, I was barred from entering the premises by the guard on duty because he said I was not wearing proper attire (shorts and sandals)

10:20 - Upon being refused entry to city hall, I decided to proceed to Riverbanks Mall where I had seen a satellite BIR booth the day before. I thought the mall woudn't mind me dressed in board shorts and sandals. The guy at the booth looked at my tax return form (1700) and told me that he only accepts returns without paayment. Since I will need to pay taxes, I should proceed to the nearest bank (PNB) that accepts tax payments.

11:00 - I arrived at the nearest PNB Branch.. which is across the street from City Hall!!! The guard gave me a form to fill out and a number (48) the bank was serving number 15 at the time. I waited... and waited for more than an hour.

12:15 - Finally the teller called my number... and was told that they were offline and couldn't accept my payment since they cannot credit the money to the BIR Account. I was told to proceed to the next nearest PNB Branch.. in Masinag, Antipolo.

12:35 - As I proceeded to PNB Masinag, I passed by Veterans Bank. Knowing that they accept BIR payments, I stopped, only to be told that they only accept BIR payments on Tuesdays and Thursdays... and it is a Wednesday. Blood pressure at this point: 120/90

12:45 - Passed by a BDO branch. I didnt know if they accept paayments but as i was starting to get frustrated, I tried asking. Nope, they dont accept BIR payments.

12:55 - Passed by a Landbank branch. I was sure they accept BIR payments, being a government run bank. I drove around the U turn slots near Sta Lucia to get to the other side where the bank is. The guard told me they were offline. Grrr (blood pressure: 125/95. I decided to drive all the way to PNB Masinag branch where the original bank teller told me to go.

1:00 - I arrived at PNB Masinag Branch and was told to fall in line at the "new accounts" desk. "Same bank, different procedures?" I thought to myself. After waiting for 20 minutes, my turn had finally arrived. The teller promptly stamped "received" on my form and told me to wait my turn at the teller counter to be able to pay. .. and oh by the way, they are offline too so I would have to wait until they get back online. ARGHHHHH.

1:35 - I decided to try my luck at the UCPB Branch right beside the PNB branch. They told me they accept BIR payments. And there was no line at the counter! Nirvana!! or so I thought. The teller told me that my form was already stamped "received" by PNB. I was told to go back and have them cancel the "received" stamp. so I went back.

1:45 - I returned to UCPB with the cancelled stamp over the received stamp on my form only to find that there was a new client.. and he was depositing... COINS!!!!! I swear I am not making this up. I took them forever to count the coins and accept the deposit.

2:00 - Finally, it was my turn. The teller took my form, took my money, stamped something, counted my change and then done, it took 2 minutes. That's it.

No wonder so many people evade paying taxes!