BIR to Implement “Fully Online” Application for OFWs

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The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is committed to implementing a “fully online” application process for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), a House of Representatives leader said Thursday.

BIR made the commitment following a letter from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda to BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay asking the agency to allow OFWs to apply for tax identification numbers (TINs) without the need for a physical appearance.

According to Salceda, OFWs transfer about $12 billion a year, “making them a bigger source of foreign currency than even foreign direct investment.”

“Imagine if we could invest some of their remittances in worthwhile programs and projects,” the lawmaker said.

In addition to its commitment to make the application process fully online from 2022, the BIR also said OFWs can now apply for TINs through an authorized representative or by email if they have need TIN to contribute to Personal Capital and Retirement Account (PERA). .

“Of course, once OFWs have a TIN for PERA purposes, they can then use that TIN to apply for a brokerage account, so that’s good news,” Salceda said.

This, Salceda said, will be an opportunity “for OFWs who may be particularly interested in investing in Philippine stocks to prepare for their return to the country and secure their family’s future.”

“Due to the requirement that taxpayer information be verified by personal appearance at District Revenue Offices (RDOs), OFWs that are still overseas are unable to open brokerage accounts without their TIN – and because obtaining a TIN requires a personal appearance, they are virtually locked out of the market,” Salceda wrote at BIR.

But Salceda said financial security after their time abroad remains a challenge for OFWs, and allowing them to invest in stocks is a good way to secure their future.

Salceda, however, said he is optimistic that the consumer financial protection law will pass before Congress adjourns this year.

The lawmaker said passage of the law would be good for OFWs, as they tend to be “frequently targeted by scam artists who present false or fraudulent investment plans.”

This week, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said the Consumer Financial Protection Act had a “strong chance” of being enacted in the 18th Congress if “the arraignments aren’t heavy.”

Salceda is the lead author of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, which has already passed third reading in the House.

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