Republic Act No. 8424(1)


Tenth Congress

December 11, 1997

Republic Act No. 8424


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::

Section 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be cited as the “Tax Reform Act of 1997”.

Section 2. State Policy. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State to promote sustainable economic growth through the rationalization of the Philippine internal revenue tax system, including tax administration; to provide, as much as possible, an equitable relief to a greater number of taxpayers in order to improve levels of disposable income and increase economic activity; and to create a robust environment for business to enable firms to compete better in the regional as well as the global market, at the same time that the State ensures that Government is able to provide for the needs of those under its jurisdiction and care.

Section 3. Presidential Decree No. 1158, as amended by, among others, Presidential Decree No. 1994 and Executive Order No. 273, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code, is hereby further amended.

Section 4. The Secretary of Finance shall, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, promulgate and publish the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act.

Section 5. Transitory Provisions – Deferment of the Effectivity of the Imposition of VAT on Certain Services. – The effectivity of the imposition of the value-added tax on services as prescribed in Section 17(a) and (b) of Republic Act No. 7616, as amended by Republic Act. 8241, is hereby further deferred until December 31, 1999, unless Congress deems otherwise: Provided, That the said services shall continue to pay the applicable tax prescribed under the present provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended.

Section 6. Separability Clause. – If any provision of this Act is subsequently declared unconstitutional, the validity of the remaining provisions hereof shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 7. Repealing Clauses. -(A) The provision of Section 17 of Republic Act No. 7906, otherwise known as the “Thrift Banks Acts of 1995” shall continue to be in force and effect only until December 31, 1999.

Effective January 1, 2000, all thrift banks, whether in operation as of that date or thereafter, shall no longer enjoy tax exemption as provided under Section 17 of R.A. No. 7906, thereby subjecting all thrift banks to taxes, fees and charges in the same manner and at the same rate as banks and other financial intermediaries.

(B) The provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and all other laws, including charters of government-owned or controlled corporations, decrees, orders, or regulations or parts thereof, that are inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

Section 8. Effectivity – This Act shall take effect on January 1, 1998.



Section 1. Title of the Code. – This Code shall be known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

Section 2. Powers and duties of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. – The Bureau of Internal Revenue shall be under the supervision and control of the Department of Finance and its powers and duties shall comprehend the assessment and collection of all national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges, and the enforcement of all forfeitures, penalties, and fines connected therewith, including the execution of judgments in all cases decided in its favor by the Court of Tax Appeals and the ordinary courts. The Bureau shall give effect to and administer the supervisory and police powers conferred to it by this Code or other laws.

Section 3. Chief Officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. – The Bureau of Internal Revenue shall have a chief to be known as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, hereinafter referred to as the Commissioner and four (4) assistant chiefs to be known as Deputy Commissioners.

Section 4. Power of the Commissioner to Interpret Tax Laws and to Decide Tax Cases. – The power to interpret the provisions of this Code and other tax laws shall be under the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Commissioner, subject to review by the Secretary of Finance.

The power to decide disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters arising under this Code or other laws or portions thereof administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue is vested in the Commissioner, subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals.

Section 5. Power of the Commissioner to Obtain Information, and to Summon, Examine, and Take Testimony of Persons. – In ascertaining the correctness of any return, or in making a return when none has been made, or in determining the liability of any person for any internal revenue tax, or in collecting any such liability, or in evaluating tax compliance, the Commissioner is authorized:

(A) To examine any book, paper, record, or other data which may be relevant or material to such inquiry;

(B) To Obtain on a regular basis from any person other than the person whose internal revenue tax liability is subject to audit or investigation, or from any office or officer of the national and local governments, government agencies and instrumentalities, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and government-owned or -controlled corporations, any information such as, but not limited to, costs and volume of production, receipts or sales and gross incomes of taxpayers, and the names, addresses, and financial statements of corporations, mutual fund companies, insurance companies, regional operating headquarters of multinational companies, joint accounts, associations, joint ventures of consortia and registered partnerships, and their members;

(C) To summon the person liable for tax or required to file a return, or any officer or employee of such person, or any person having possession, custody, or care of the books of accounts and other accounting records containing entries relating to the business of the person liable for tax, or any other person, to appear before the Commissioner or his duly authorized representative at a time and place specified in the summons and to produce such books, papers, records, or other data, and to give testimony;

(D) To take such testimony of the person concerned, under oath, as may be relevant or material to such inquiry; and

(E) To cause revenue officers and employees to make a canvass from time to time of any revenue district or region and inquire after and concerning all persons therein who may be liable to pay any internal revenue tax, and all persons owning or having the care, management or possession of any object with respect to which a tax is imposed.

The provisions of the foregoing paragraphs notwithstanding, nothing in this Section shall be construed as granting the Commissioner the authority to inquire into bank deposits other than as provided for in Section 6(F) of this Code.

Section 6. Power of the Commissioner to Make assessments and Prescribe additional Requirements for Tax Administration and Enforcement. –

(A) Examination of Returns and Determination of Tax Due. – After a return has been filed as required under the provisions of this Code, the Commissioner or his duly authorized representative may authorize the examination of any taxpayer and the assessment of the correct amount of tax: Provided, however; That failure to file a return shall not prevent the Commissioner from authorizing the examination of any taxpayer.

The tax or any deficiency tax so assessed shall be paid upon notice and demand from the Commissioner or from his duly authorized representative.

Any return, statement of declaration filed in any office authorized to receive the same shall not be withdrawn: Provided, That within three (3) years from the date of such filing, the same may be modified, changed, or amended: Provided, further, That no notice for audit or investigation of such return, statement or declaration has in the meantime been actually served upon the taxpayer.

(B) Failure to Submit Required Returns, Statements, Reports and other Documents. – When a report required by law as a basis for the assessment of any national internal revenue tax shall not be forthcoming within the time fixed by laws or rules and regulations or when there is reason to believe that any such report is false, incomplete or erroneous, the Commissioner shall assess the proper tax on the best evidence obtainable.

In case a person fails to file a required return or other document at the time prescribed by law, or willfully or otherwise files a false or fraudulent return or other document, the Commissioner shall make or amend the return from his own knowledge and from such information as he can obtain through testimony or otherwise, which shall be prima facie correct and sufficient for all legal purposes.

(C) Authority to Conduct Inventory-taking, surveillance and to Prescribe Presumptive Gross Sales and Receipts. – The Commissioner may, at any time during the taxable year, order inventory-taking of goods of any taxpayer as a basis for determining his internal revenue tax liabilities, or may place the business operations of any person, natural or juridical, under observation or surveillance if there is reason to believe that such person is not declaring his correct income, sales or receipts for internal revenue tax purposes. The findings may be used as the basis for assessing the taxes for the other months or quarters of the same or different taxable years and such assessment shall be deemed prima facie correct.

When it is found that a person has failed to issue receipts and invoices in violation of the requirements of Sections 113 and 237 of this Code, or when there is reason to believe that the books of accounts or other records do not correctly reflect the declarations made or to be made in a return required to be filed under the provisions of this Code, the Commissioner, after taking into account the sales, receipts, income or other taxable base of other persons engaged in similar businesses under similar situations or circumstances or after considering other relevant information may prescribe a minimum amount of such gross receipts, sales and taxable base, and such amount so prescribed shall be prima facie correct for purposes of determining the internal revenue tax liabilities of such person.

(D) Authority to Terminate Taxable Period. _ When it shall come to the knowledge of the Commissioner that a taxpayer is retiring from business subject to tax, or is intending to leave the Philippines or to remove his property therefrom or to hide or conceal his property, or is performing any act tending to obstruct the proceedings for the collection of the tax for the past or current quarter or year or to render the same totally or partly ineffective unless such proceedings are begun immediately, the Commissioner shall declare the tax period of such taxpayer terminated at any time and shall send the taxpayer a notice of such decision, together with a request for the immediate payment of the tax for the period so declared terminated and the tax for the preceding year or quarter, or such portion thereof as may be unpaid, and said taxes shall be due and payable immediately and shall be subject to all the penalties hereafter prescribed, unless paid within the time fixed in the demand made by the Commissioner.

(E) Authority of the Commissioner to Prescribe Real Property Values. – The Commissioner is hereby authorized to divide the Philippines into different zones or areas and shall, upon consultation with competent appraisers both from the private and public sectors, determine the fair market value of real properties located in each zone or area. For purposes of computing any internal revenue tax, the value of the property shall be, whichever is the higher of;

(1) the fair market value as determined by the Commissioner, or

(2) the fair market value as shown in the schedule of values of the Provincial and City Assessors.

(F) Authority of the Commissioner to inquire into Bank Deposit Accounts. – Notwithstanding any contrary provision of Republic Act No. 1405 and other general or special laws, the Commissioner is hereby authorized to inquire into the bank deposits of:

(1) a decedent to determine his gross estate; and

(2) any taxpayer who has filed an application for compromise of his tax liability under Sec. 204 (A) (2) of this Code by reason of financial incapacity to pay his tax liability.

In case a taxpayer files an application to compromise the payment of his tax liabilities on his claim that his financial position demonstrates a clear inability to pay the tax assessed, his application shall not be considered unless and until he waives in writing his privilege under Republic act NO. 1405 or under other general or special laws, and such waiver shall constitute the authority of the Commissioner to inquire into the bank deposits of the taxpayer.

(G) Authority to Accredit and Register Tax Agents. – The Commissioner shall accredit and register, based on their professional competence, integrity and moral fitness, individuals and general professional partnerships and their representatives who prepare and file tax returns, statements, reports, protests, and other papers with or who appear before, the Bureau for taxpayers. Within one hundred twenty (120) days from January 1, 1998, the Commissioner shall create national and regional accreditation boards, the members of which shall serve for three (3) years, and shall designate from among the senior officials of the Bureau, one (1) chairman and two (2) members for each board, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of Finance shall promulgate upon the recommendation of the Commissioner.

Individuals and general professional partnerships and their representatives who are denied accreditation by the Commissioner and/or the national and regional accreditation boards may appeal such denial to the Secretary of Finance, who shall rule on the appeal within sixty (60) days from receipt of such appeal. Failure of the Secretary of Finance to rule on the Appeal within the prescribed period shall be deemed as approval of the application for accreditation of the appellant.

(H) Authority of the Commissioner to Prescribe Additional Procedural or Documentary Requirements. – The Commissioner may prescribe the manner of compliance with any documentary or procedural requirement in connection with the submission or preparation of financial statements accompanying the tax returns.

Section 7. Authority of the Commissioner to Delegate Power. – The Commissioner may delegate the powers vested in him under the pertinent provisions of this Code to any or such subordinate officials with the rank equivalent to a division chief or higher, subject to such limitations and restrictions as may be imposed under rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner: Provided, However, That the following powers of the Commissioner shall not be delegated:

(a) The power to recommend the promulgation of rules and regulations by the Secretary of Finance;

(b) The power to issue rulings of first impression or to reverse, revoke or modify any existing ruling of the Bureau;

(c) The power to compromise or abate, under Sec. 204 (A) and (B) of this Code, any tax liability: Provided, however, That assessments issued by the regional offices involving basic deficiency taxes of Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) or less, and minor criminal violations, as may be determined by rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner, discovered by regional and district officials, may be compromised by a regional evaluation board which shall be composed of the Regional Director as Chairman, the Assistant Regional Director, the heads of the Legal, Assessment and Collection Divisions and the Revenue District Officer having jurisdiction over the taxpayer, as members; and

(d) The power to assign or reassign internal revenue officers to establishments where articles subject to excise tax are produced or kept.

Section 8. Duty of the Commissioner to Ensure the Provision and Distribution of forms, Receipts, Certificates, and Appliances, and the Acknowledgment of Payment of Taxes.-

(A) Provision and Distribution to Proper Officials. – It shall be the duty of the Commissioner, among other things, to prescribe, provide, and distribute to the proper officials the requisite licenses internal revenue stamps, labels all other forms, certificates, bonds, records, invoices, books, receipts, instruments, appliances and apparatus used in administering the laws falling within the jurisdiction of the Bureau. For this purpose, internal revenue stamps, strip stamps and labels shall be caused by the Commissioner to be printed with adequate security features.

Internal revenue stamps, whether of a bar code or fuson design, shall be firmly and conspicuously affixed on each pack of cigars and cigarettes subject to excise tax in the manner and form as prescribed by the Commissioner, upon approval of the Secretary of Finance.

(B) Receipts for Payment Made. – It shall be the duty of the Commissioner or his duly authorized representative or an authorized agent bank to whom any payment of any tax is made under the provision of this Code to acknowledge the payment of such tax, expressing the amount paid and the particular account for which such payment was made in a form and manner prescribed therefor by the Commissioner.

Section 9. Internal Revenue Districts. – With the approval of the Secretary of Finance, the Commissioner shall divide the Philippines into such number of revenue districts as may form time to time be required for administrative purposes. Each of these districts shall be under the supervision of a Revenue District Officer.

Section 10. Revenue Regional Director. – Under rules and regulations, policies and standards formulated by the Commissioner, with the approval of the Secretary of Finance, the Revenue Regional director shall, within the region and district offices under his jurisdiction, among others:

(a) Implement laws, policies, plans, programs, rules and regulations of the department or agencies in the regional area;

(b) Administer and enforce internal revenue laws, and rules and regulations, including the assessment and collection of all internal revenue taxes, charges and fees.

(c) Issue Letters of authority for the examination of taxpayers within the region;

(d) Provide economical, efficient and effective service to the people in the area;

(e) Coordinate with regional offices or other departments, bureaus and agencies in the area;

(f) Coordinate with local government units in the area;

(g) Exercise control and supervision over the officers and employees within the region; and

(h) Perform such other functions as may be provided by law and as may be delegated by the Commissioner.

Section 11. Duties of Revenue District Officers and Other Internal Revenue Officers. – It shall be the duty of every Revenue District Officer or other internal revenue officers and employees to ensure that all laws, and rules and regulations affecting national internal revenue are faithfully executed and complied with, and to aid in the prevention, detection and punishment of frauds of delinquencies in connection therewith.

It shall be the duty of every Revenue District Officer to examine the efficiency of all officers and employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue under his supervision, and to report in writing to the Commissioner, through the Regional Director, any neglect of duty, incompetency, delinquency, or malfeasance in office of any internal revenue officer of which he may obtain knowledge, with a statement of all the facts and any evidence sustaining each case.

Section 12. Agents and Deputies for Collection of National Internal Revenue Taxes. – The following are hereby constituted agents of the Commissioner:

(a) The Commissioner of Customs and his subordinates with respect to the collection of national internal revenue taxes on imported goods;

(b) The head of the appropriate government office and his subordinates with respect to the collection of energy tax; and

(c) Banks duly accredited by the Commissioner with respect to receipt of payments internal revenue taxes authorized to be made thru bank.

Any officer or employee of an authorized agent bank assigned to receive internal revenue tax payments and transmit tax returns or documents to the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall be subject to the same sanctions and penalties prescribed in Sections 269 and 270 of this Code.

Section 13. Authority of a Revenue Offices. – subject to the rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner, a Revenue Officer assigned to perform assessment functions in any district may, pursuant to a Letter of Authority issued by the Revenue Regional Director, examine taxpayers within the jurisdiction of the district in order to collect the correct amount of tax, or to recommend the assessment of any deficiency tax due in the same manner that the said acts could have been performed by the Revenue Regional Director himself.

Section 14. Authority of Officers to Administer Oaths and Take Testimony. – The Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, Service Chiefs, Assistant Service Chiefs, Revenue Regional Directors, Assistant Revenue Regional Directors, Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs of Divisions, Revenue District Officers, special deputies of the Commissioner, internal revenue officers and any other employee of the Bureau thereunto especially deputized by the Commissioner shall have the power to administer oaths and to take testimony in any official matter or investigation conducted by them regarding matters within the jurisdiction of the Bureau.

Section 15. Authority of Internal Revenue Officers to Make Arrests and Seizures. – The Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners, the Revenue Regional Directors, the Revenue District Officers and other internal revenue officers shall have authority to make arrests and seizures for the violation of any penal law, rule or regulation administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Any person so arrested shall be forthwith brought before a court, there to be dealt with according to law.

Section 16. Assignment of Internal Revenue Officers Involved in Excise Tax Functions to Establishments Where Articles subject to Excise Tax are Produced or Kept. – The Commissioner shall employ, assign, or reassign internal revenue officers involved in excise tax functions, as often as the exigencies of the revenue service may require, to establishments or places where articles subject to excise tax are produced or kept: Provided, That an internal revenue officer assigned to any such establishment shall in no case stay in his assignment for more than two (2) years, subject to rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner.

Section 17. Assignment of Internal Revenue Officers and Other Employees to Other Duties. – The Commissioner may, subject to the provisions of Section 16 and the laws on civil service, as well as the rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Finance upon the recommendation of the Commissioner, assign or reassign internal revenue officers and employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, without change in their official rank and salary, to other or special duties connected with the enforcement or administration of the revenue laws as the exigencies of the service may require: Provided, That internal revenue officers assigned to perform assessment or collection function shall not remain in the same assignment for more than three (3) years; Provided, further, That assignment of internal revenue officers and employees of the Bureau to special duties shall not exceed one (1) year.

Section 18. Reports of violation of Laws. – When an internal revenue officer discovers evidence of a violation of this Code or of any law, rule or regulations administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue of such character as to warrant the institution of criminal proceedings, he shall immediately report the facts to the Commissioner through his immediate superior, giving the name and address of the offender and the names of the witnesses if possible: Provided, That in urgent cases, the Revenue Regional director or Revenue District Officer, as the case may be, may send the report to the corresponding prosecuting officer in the latter case, a copy of his report shall be sent to the Commissioner.

Section 19. Contents of Commissioner’s Annual Report. – The annual Report of the Commissioner shall contain detailed statements of the collections of the Bureau with specifications of the sources of revenue by type of tax, by manner of payment, by revenue region and by industry group and its disbursements by classes of expenditures.

In case the actual collection exceeds or falls short of target as set in the annual national budget by fifteen percent (15%) or more, the Commissioner shall explain the reason for such excess or shortfall.

Section 20. Submission of Report and Pertinent Information by the Commissioner.

(A) Submission of Pertinent Information to Congress. – The provision of Section 270 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding, the Commissioner shall, upon request of Congress and in aid of legislation, furnish its appropriate Committee pertinent information including but not limited to: industry audits, collection performance data, status reports in criminal actions initiated against persons and taxpayer’s returns: Provided, however, That any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished the appropriate Committee of Congress only when sitting in Executive Session Unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

(B) Report to Oversight Committee. – The Commissioner shall, with reference to Section 204 of this Code, submit to the Oversight Committee referred to in Section 290 hereof, through the Chairmen of the Committee on Ways and Means of the Senate and House of Representatives, a report on the exercise of his powers pursuant to the said section, every six (6) months of each calendar year.

Section 21. Sources of Revenue. – The following taxes, fees and charges are deemed to be national internal revenue taxes:

(a) Income tax;

(b) Estate and donor’s taxes;

(c) Value-added tax;

(d) Other percentage taxes;

(e) Excise taxes;

(f) Documentary stamp taxes; and

(g) Such other taxes as are or hereafter may be imposed and collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

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