The chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday requested the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to allow overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to apply for their tax identification number (TIN) online and without the need for face-to-face transactions.
In a letter addressed to BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda requested the bureau to consider agency issuances that would allow for a fully-digital process of TIN registration.
“I reviewed the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and Section 236 (I) of the Code, which requires the TIN for every taxpayer, does not appear to require personal appearance. A fully-digital process for registering corporations has in fact already been adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” Salceda said.
He said the TIN is particularly crucial for small investors who seek to invest their money in the stock market, stressing that OFWs are a sleeping giant among direct investors to the Philippines.
He noted that a broad investor base is crucial for deepening the country’s capital markets as every transaction that the stock investor makes is also subject to tax, which earns the government much-needed funds for fiscal and economic recovery.
“Overseas Filipinos are the greatest untapped resource when it comes to deepening our capital markets. All it takes is opening the doors in the first place,” he said.
He said that OFWs invest some 28 billion in remittances to the Philippines.
“If only some 20 percent of that is additionally invested, you would increase our direct investments by around USD5.6 billion. That is no number to miss,” he said.
He said OFWs may be particularly interested in investing in Philippine stocks as a means for preparing for their return to the country and to secure the future of their family.
Citing the problem, Salceda explained that “due to the requirement that taxpayer information be verified by personal appearance in the Revenue District Offices (RDOs), OFWs who are still abroad are unable to open stock brokerage accounts without their TINs – and because getting a TIN requires personal appearance, they are practically locked out of the market.”
Source: Philippines News Agency