#AskTheTaxWhiz: All about the Seal of Honesty Certification Program
Who can apply for the Seal of Honesty (SOH) Certification Program?
All taxpayers, both individuals or corporations, may apply for the program, especially:
- Self-employed and professionals
- Family businesses, regardless of size and industry
- Those being audited regularly by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
What are the criteria to qualify?
Individual and corporate taxpayers who will subscribe to the certification program will commit to:
- settle all open cases and pending assessments
- observe full and honest compliance with all BIR regulations and requirements at all times
- sign the Integrity Pledge to promote and uphold honesty and integrity in paying taxes, and in dealing with all government agencies, customers, and suppliers without compromises
- commit not to bribe or to stop bribing BIR examiners
- increase voluntary compliance by at least 20% in total tax payments for those who are regularly audited by the BIR, based on the level of their compliance
How can I get the SOH?
The certification process includes the following:
- signing of the Integrity Pledge and commitment to promote a culture of honesty and integrity in paying taxes
- attend a roundtable discussion on paying the right taxes organized by your business organization, chamber, or association in partnership with CSR Philippines
- enroll in the certification program
- have a preliminary evaluation to determine the risk assessment and level of compliance
- undergo tax planning and a compliance review
- submit a compliance report to the Evaluation Committee under the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue
- deliberation by the Board of Accreditors composed of representatives from the BIR, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), CSR Philippines, ISA, and Integrity Initiative (II)
- awarding of the SOH
- revalidation after one year
- renewal every year
What are the benefits of subscribing to the certification program?
Upon confirmation of the Evaluation Committee under the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and approval of the Board of Accreditors, the following incentives will be extended to certified taxpayers:
- issuance of annual tax clearance, without prejudice to information not available at the time of issuance
- Last Priority Audit
- other privileges which the DTI and other government agencies may also extend to certified honest taxpayers
How long is the validity of the SOH?
One (1) year and renewable every year subject to revalidation of CSR Philippines.
Who will award or decide if a taxpayer is qualified for the SOH?
There will be two independent bodies to review and validate compliance of a taxpayer who applied for the SOH. First, the Evaluation Committee under the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is tasked to verify full compliance with the SOH requirements.
Second, upon endorsement of CSR Philippines and confirmation of the Evaluation Committee, the Board of Accreditors, composed of representatives from the BIR, DTI, CSR Philippines, ISA, and II will approve the awarding of the SOH upon final deliberation.
Does this grant full immunity to taxpayers? Does this mean the BIR will no longer audit certified taxpayers?
No. The mandate of the BIR is to assess and to collect the right taxes. CSR Philippines aims to help the BIR as its advocacy partner, to collect the right taxes through voluntary compliance of taxpayers who will undergo the SOH certification. However, CSR Philippines does not in any way participate in tax administration. Any taxpayer, with or without the SOH, found to have violated Philippine tax laws and regulations will be subject to audit and investigation.
Need more information on how and where to apply?
Send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (+63) 2 372 5727. – Rappler.com
Mon Abrea, popularly known as the Philippine Tax Whiz, is one of the 2016 Outstanding Persons of the World, a Move Awards 2016 Digital Mover, one of the 2015 The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), an Asia CEO Young Leader of the Year, and founder of the Abrea Consulting Group and Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines (CSR Philippines). He currently serves as Adviser to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue of the Philippine government on tax administration reform in promoting inclusive growth. Follow Mon on Twitter (@askthetaxwhiz) or visit his Facebook page. You may also email him at email@example.com.