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Step-by-Step Guide on How to File Income Tax Return in Philippines

(Updated April 10, 2017)
Clear cut truth:
Filing your tax returns is like going to the dentist. Most people would love to avoid it but failing to do so at the right time will incur consequences.

What is Income Tax Return?

This simply means that you have to file your proof of income tax payments. You have to declare the total income you have earned, investments, salary deductions and paid tax from the previous year. You may file your ITR quarterly or yearly.
Aside from the fact that you need to pay off tax as a good citizen, you need to set aside one working day to file your Income Tax Returns.
Now, you don’t have to procrastinate. There is no need to join the mob of people hassling themselves on the deadline which is on April 17th. There are now various ways of filing your ITR in your Revenue District Offices.

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How Do You File your Income Tax Returns?

  1. Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS)
  2. Electronic BIR Forms (eBIRForms)
  3. File your ITR Personally

Most Filipinos dread filing for tax returns. We so are used to the idea that filing anything in government institutions painfully takes time and too much effort. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) recognizes the need to make the process easier by making Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) and Electronic BIR Forms (eBIRForms) easily accessible.
Whether filing through online or personally here are the list of documents you’ll need:

Required documents when filing for ITR

For employed:

  • Filled up BIR Form 1700
  • BIR Form 2316

For self-employed individuals and those with various income sources:

  • Filled up BIR Form 1701
  • Certificate of BIR Form 2316/ Certificate of BIR Form 2307/ Certificate of BIR Form 2304
  • Tax debit memo
  • Proof of prior year’s excess tax credits
  • If your income exceeds P150,000, you need to present Account Information Form (AIF) or Audited Financial Statements

For corporations and partnerships:

  • Filled up BIR Form 1702
  • Certificate of BIR Form 2304 and/or Certificate of BIR Form 2307 (whichever is applicable)

Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS)

This is the online filing system developed by BIR to help taxpayers file their ITR at ease. However, it is highly recommended that you use a desktop or laptop with good internet connection.
eFPS Registration
Step 1: Open your internet browser and search for the BIR website or type in
Step 2: Click on eFPS icon to be directed to the eFPS home page.
Step 3: Click on “Enroll to eFPS.”
Step 4: Fill in the needed information in the eFPS enrollment form. Make sure all the information are accurate.
Step 5: Click on the “Submit” button. You are supposed to see a pop-up message saying that your application has been sent and received by the system. This does not mean you have been approved.
You need to wait for three to 10 days to get an e-mail message from the BIR confirming your enrolment status which could either be approved or disapproved.

e-Filing a Tax Return

  • A system generated filing reference number (FRN) will be issued for each of your successful filing transaction.
  • The FRN will be located on the upper right-hand corner of your tax return. Absence of the FRN means you have not filed your ITR. You can print your ITR through the Tax Return Inquiry facility.
  • You can secure a certification of your e-filed tax returns in the RDO where you are currently registered.

How to Use Electronic BIR Forms (eBIRForms)?

Step 1: Download the latest eBIRForm Offline package then log out of the website. You can use these forms while you are offline. This is to lessen the traffic and loan in the BIR website.
Simply, if you fill up the forms online, you might experience technical problems due to the volume of people simultaneously using the site as well.
Step 2: Install the package on your desktop. This way you can view and create new tax return forms anytime you need to. After accessing it, you need to fill up the Profile Screen.
Step 3: Choose the form you need from the “List of BIR Forms.” Click the button “Fill-Up” and fill in the required data in the new form.
Step 4: Make sure all of the information are accurate.
Step 5: Go online again.
Step 6: Submit the accomplished tax return to Online eBIRForms by clicking “Submit.”
Step 7: The FRN will be generated as proof that the tax return has been received. The page will also display “The form has been successfully filed.”
Step 8: If the submission of the return was unsuccessful, click the “Final Copy” button to access the alternative way for the submission of tax returns. You might be directed to your eFPS account.
Step 9: The system will send you an e-mail confirming receipt of the tax returns.
Step 10: If you have default payment, you can pay through online banking to Authorized Agent Bank of your RDO or pay over-the –counter.
Benefits of eBIRForms

  • Validate ITR Forms
  • Save
  • Edit
  • Print
  • Submit to Online eBIRForms and FTP

How to file your ITR Personally?

There are some taxpayers who are still comfortable filing their ITR personally. This only takes three (3) steps.
Step 1: Fill up the ITR form which you could download online. Make you have filled in all the important areas.
Step 2: Proceed to Authorized Agent Bank of RDO where you are currently registered and present your filled out BIR form and required documents.
Step 3: Receive duly stamped and validated form as proof of ITR filing.
While it seems quick (just 3 steps), remember that you need to spend one working day at your RDO. Expect a long line of people waiting for you.
Filing tax returns is no fun at all, but this is a responsibility we need to face. As the BIR put it, if you love your country, you need to pay your taxes.
If you haven’t filed your tax returns yet, make sure to do so before April 17 to avoid penalties and charges.

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