Press Releases

Salceda requests BIR to allow OFWs to register their TINs online without face-to-face transactions: House tax chair says OFWs are “sleeping giant” of investments for the Philippines

December 3rd, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) requested Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay to allow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to apply for their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) online and without the need for face-to-face transactions, calling the sector a “sleeping giant” of potential investors in the Philippines.

In a letter to Dulay, Salceda requested Dulay to “to supply the Committee with the tax administration rules and regulations, if any, that prevent us from fully digitalizing the process.”

“May I also request that the Bureau consider agency issuances that would allow for full TIN registration,” Salceda said.

“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 told Dulay.

“Registration of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is the most basic step to ensuring that a taxpayer is able to pay taxes on his taxable activities. TINs are particularly crucial for small investors who seek to invest their money in the stock market. Overseas Filipino Workers (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,” Salceda wrote

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.”

OFWs a ‘sleeping giant’ among investors

“A broad investor base is crucial for deepening our capital markets. Every transaction that the stock investor makes is also subject to tax – earning the government much-needed funds for fiscal and economic recovery,” Salceda wrote.

In subsequent comments, Salceda said that “OFWs are a sleeping giant among direct investors to the Philippines. OFWs invest some 28 billion in remittances to the Philippines. If only some 20% of that is additionally invested, you would increase our direct investments by around 5.6 billion USD. That is no number to miss.”

“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.”

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