Philippines gears up for online tax payments

Tapping the technology services of AyalaPort Makati Inc. (APMI), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is preparing the implementation of the Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) that will allow the country’s taxpayers to file and pay their taxes through electronic means such as the Internet.

The eFPS is intended to make paying taxes more convenient for taxpayers and, at the same time, help the BIR develop a more organized and systematic process of storing and retrieving information.

“The BIR outsourced the eFPS to APMI to make sure that such a mission- critical system will be backed by a reliable network infrastructure and robust systems as usage of the service expands,” said Alexandra Ganzon, business development associate of AyalaPort.

Already, some 300 companies from different industries have volunteered to take part in implementing the eFPS service which primarily targets the country’s Top 1,000 corporations. APMI has already completed 14 out of the 30 corporate tax forms necessary to carry out the eFPS process for the corporations.

Through its partnership with APMI, the BIR will be able to use its existing IT resources to enhance the other systems that it maintains in-house. This will allow the bureau to save on costs by leveraging on the investments already made by APMI in its facilities. Aside from expanding the coverage and usage of the eFPS service, APMI will be able to ensure the security and continuous availability of the system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In the midst of enhancing the eFPS through the expansion of its coverage which includes providing additional corporate and individual tax forms, APMI aims to inflate the number of its serviced users to 40,000 taxpayers,” said AyalaPort president Mark Javier.

To achieve this goal, APMI and the BIR are formulating a joint communication program that will inform the public about the eFPS, including its coverage and usage. Through the eFPS, APMI and the BIR also aim to interface with the payment systems of authorized agent banks (AAB).

APMI is an Internet data centre set up in partnership with the Ayala Group of Companies and the Internet Initiative Japan Inc. It provides technology infrastructure, Internet and network services, as well as value-added solutions and applications to the enterprise and other organizations that outsource its technology requirements.

APMI allows users to “rent” costly applications through a pay per use scheme on a quarterly or annual basis as opposed to the traditional acquisition model of purchasing packaged software at a steep upfront price.

Aiming to meet the growing data communication demand in the Philippines by providing comprehensive Internet connectivity, server hosting and systems integration, APMI is expected to stimulate the growing e-commerce activities in the country though its services.

Investing around one billion pesos (US$18.2 million) in its data centre, APMI expects its operations to be profitable by next year, even as it expands its services to Cebu.