PSALM adopts electronic tax filing and payment system

16 Feb 2006

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the government agency tasked to privatize the assets of the National Power Corp., recently adopted the Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) to ensure a more efficient and cost-effective filing and payment of its corporate and individual income taxes, including taxes subject to withholding such as the Value-Added Tax and other percentage taxes.
Developed and maintained by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the eFPS refers to the electronic filing of tax returns, including attachments, and the payment of taxes due through the Internet. The payments are made using the Internet banking facilities of BIR's accredited agent banks (AABs).
The eFPS allows taxpayers to experience paperless tax filing and to pay their taxes online through the convenience of an Internet banking service via debit from their enrolled bank account.
Approved by the PSALM board last October and formally launched early this month, the eFPS significantly "reduces manpower and related costs," said Cesar V. Ramirez, Financial Services Department manager of PSALM.
"The system also provides safety nets, and check and balance measures to ensure dependable and accurate transactions. Thus, the chances of error are minimized because all of the information we supply is validated before final submission. Aside from being cost effective, the eFPS promotes transparency in paying our taxes," he noted.
Asked how cost effective the eFPS is in terms of meeting tax filing and payment deadlines, Ramirez related that the Financial Services Department used to assign a number of employees to work full time in processing PSALM's various taxes, including filing and payment, to be able to meet deadlines. "With the eFPS, these employees can now be assigned other tasks aside from their main responsibility," he said. "Thus, their efficiency is developed, and we don't need to hire new employees to do their job."
In terms of cost effectiveness, the eFPS substantially reduces processing cost of returns and payments such as receiving, pre-processing, encoding, error handling and storage.
An important feature of the eFPS is its capability to document virtually all the tax-related transactions of its enrollees, disclosed Rossana S. Coronel, manager of Land Bank, one of the AABs that forged a tie-up with the BIR to implement the system. Thus, a company's account history can be readily viewed by its authorized officials and employees.
"In the case of PSALM and other government entities using eFPS, the authorized officials and employees are provided a password to enable them to open the account and, more important, to ensure security," said Coronel, who was present when the eFPS was launched at the PSALM office in Bankmer Bldg. in Makati. During the launch, PSALM's January withholding taxes were remitted to the BIR through the Land Bank using the eFPS.
"As a system data base, the eFPS will significantly help PSALM arrange its tax filing and payment timeline," she added.
Alvin Diaz, division manager of PSALM's Budget, Tax and Billing Division, said the corporation decided to tap Land Bank as its accredited agent bank because "we already have an existing account with them, which means processing and checking of transactions will be easier and more convenient."
Ramirez sees PSALM's adoption of the eFPS as "very timely," especially with the expected implementation of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) whose trading activities are seen yielding substantial remittances. PSALM will be one of the major participants in the spot market when it starts commercial operation anytime this year.
"To be sure, with the eFPS, the processing, filing and submission of these remittances will be quick, simple and secure. Response time and acknowledgement will also be quicker as the system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays," he said.

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