By Maria Carmelita V. Torres, 23 May 2013
In the recent ranking of Economies (based on Ease of Doing Business) conducted by the World Bank Group, the Philippines ranked 138th out of 185 countries worldwide. The ranking is indicative of how conducive it is to start and operate a business in each country. Particularly, the same study showed that when it comes to starting a business, the Philippines ranks 161st out of 185 economies. These data would seem to indicate that investors generally find it difficult to start a business in the Philippines. This perception may be due to various reasons such as complex registration procedures and numerous regulatory and compliance requirements which must be complied with before anyone can start a business in the Philippines. One such important requirement is securing the necessary authority to print invoices and/or official receipts from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Section 237 of the Tax Code provides that all persons who are engaged in business in the Philippines are required to issue duly-registered invoices and/or official receipts. The printing of said invoices and receipts is not a straightforward procedure since it requires prior authorization from the BIR. Moreover, printing of these documents can only be done by printers who are duly-accredited by the BIR, in accordance with Section 238 of the Tax Code. Further to these requirements under the Tax Code, Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 18-2012, issued by the BIR on Oct. 22, 2012, provide for the guidelines and requirements in processing of Authority to Print (ATP) Official Receipts (ORs), Sales Invoices (SIs) and other Commercial Invoices (CIs). RR No. 18-2012 provides for on-line processing of ATPs that would involve fully automated application, generation, approval and issuance of the ATP through a web-based (on-line) ATP System. As of to-date, however, the On-line ATP System is not yet fully developed. In the meantime that the On-line ATP System is not yet available, the BIR, through Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 12-2013 dated May 2, 2013, issued additional guidelines and procedures in the processing of applications for ATP ORs, SIs and other CIs, applicable to taxpayers that still use manually-issued receipts/invoices. It is important to note that businesses issuing receipts through Cash Register Machine/ Point-Of-Sale Machines (CRM/POS) and/or Computerized Accounting System (CAS) will be covered by separate guidelines. RMO No. 12-2013 reiterates the rule that only BIR Accredited Printers are allowed to print principal and supplementary receipts and invoices, upon issuance of the ATP by the BIR. The printed invoices/receipts must also show all the relevant information stated in the RMO, which include a breakdown of the transaction if such amounts involve a mix of transactions (i.e. VATable sales, VAT amount, Zero-rated sales, and VAT Exempt Sales). For non-VAT ORs/SIs and other CIs, the phrase "THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT VALID FOR CLAIM OF INPUT TAX" should be conspicuously printed in bold letters. Taxpayers not subject to VAT or Percentage Tax shall issue non-VAT principal receipts/invoices indicating at the face of the receipt/invoice the word "EXEMPT". Furthermore, taxpayers subject to percentage tax shall provide the breakdown of Sales Subject to Percentage Tax (SSPT) and Exempt Sales. Other information relevant to the taxpayer may be included in the invoice/receipt. In addition, the following should be printed at the bottom portion of the OR/SI/CI:
In the case of taxpayers transacting business with senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD), the invoices and/or receipts should state the customer’s Senior Citizen tax identification number (TIN), Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) ID No./PWD No., Senior Citizen Discount/PWD Discount, as the case may be, and show his/her signature.As provided under RMO No. 12-2013, in the interim, ATP applications shall be processed using the Registration System of the Integrated Tax System (ITS). The taxpayer should submit its inventory listing and surrender hard copies of unused/expired receipts/ invoices together with photocopies of the old and new ATPs and corresponding Printer’s Certificate of Delivery (PCD) to the Revenue District Office (RDO) where it is registered. The old BIR Form 1906 for ATP applications shall be used until the revised form becomes available, and the prescribed standard forms, such as the Sworn Certification of the Printer, sample format of ORs/SIs/CIs, Inventory List of Unused/Expired Principal and Supplementary Receipts and Invoices shall be used by the authorized printers and the taxpayers. The taxpayer is likewise required to choose its printer from the list of accredited printers in the BIR Web site. When the application has been approved by the RDO/LT office, the taxpayer may claim the actual ATP, which will serve as a guide/reference for accredited printers, containing the date of ATP, validity period, printer’s accreditation number, and date of accreditation.
RR No. 18-2012 also provides for an extension for expiring receipts provided that they apply for a new ATP not later than 60 days prior to the actual expiry date. Further, the transitory provisions of RMO No. 12-2013 provide that all unused or unissued receipts and invoices printed prior to the effectivity date of RR No. 18-2012 (which was on Jan. 18, 2013), shall be valid only until June 30, 2013. Taxpayers are therefore required to surrender the expired ORs, CIs, and SIs to their respective RDO on or before July 10, 2013 for destruction, together with an inventory listing of these unused/unissued receipts and invoices submitted to the BIR.
Another significant provision of the RR and RMO is that compliant receipts, or all those new sets of receipts/invoices to be printed under the requirements of the new guidelines, shall also only be valid until the full usage of the approved serial numbers or five years from its issuance, whichever comes first. After such period all unused/expired/expiring receipts/invoices shall also be surrendered to the respective RDO for destruction on or before the 10th day of the month following the validity of the expired receipts/invoices. This is a requirement not mandated previously. Although theoretically, putting strict validity requirements might curb the unscrupulous use of invoices or receipts, it would obviously entail more time and effort for taxpayers in accounting for all such invoices and receipts. This means additional costs on the part of taxpayers already over-burdened with regulatory requirements and procedures in the course of their doing business.
The author is a manager at the Tax Services Department of Isla Lipana & Co., the Philippine member firm of the PwC network.
Views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Isla Lipana & Co. The firm will not accept any liability arising from such article; the author will be personally liable for any consequent damages or other liabilities.