24 June 2020 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has been working on the ground for the past week in monitoring the compliance of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) with the provisions mandated by R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Last June 15, the Intelligence Unit and Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation Office (CMEO) of ARTA conducted on-the-spot visits on select BIR branches in Metro Manila, particularly in Manila, Makati and Quezon City, as taxpayers line up for the last day of filing their taxes.

Deriving from the observations made by the ARTA team, ARTA Director General Belgica tiik note of the efforts made by BIR to implement ease of doing business measures during this pandemic. “The reforms that were being implemented were reforms even before the pandemic. We are pleasantly surprised and happy that a lot of the things that were discussed [with ARTA] were actually rolled-out”, Director General Belgica said in an interview.

As a part of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, ARTA also took the opportunity to observe whether minimum public health standards are being implemented by the agency to ensure the transacting public’s safety amidst the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

On top of the on-the-spot visits, ARTA conducted a client satisfaction survey among the tax payers as a means to gather client feedback on the service/s availed from BIR. ARTA conducted the survey among 457 tax filers from different Revenue District Offices (RDOs) in Manila, Makati and Quezon City.

The ARTA team recorded an overall satisfaction rating of about 85% from the respondents. Majority of the payers surveyed preferred to file and pay their taxes manually. It was also noted that some had made their transactions with the agency at their non-designated RDO. In view of the implementation of community quarantines, the BIR had allowed this arrangement as opposed to requiring taxpayers to file at the RDO of their registration. This arrangement proved to be convenient during this time of pandemic during which there is limited means of transportation.

In general, the survey shows that the public is satisfied with the overall preparations made by the RDOs to accommodate last minute tax filers while also ensuring that health and safety measures were in place.

The same client satisfaction survey will also be conducted by ARTA for other government agencies in the weeks to come.