I’m back from a very long hiatus to talk about TAXES. So much more exciting things have happened since my last post, but this should give you an idea of what has been filling my mind as of late.
I’d been preparing my financial records, knowing that I was attempting to file my Annual Income Tax Return by myself for the first time this year. Despite that, I had waited for the week of my departure to actually bother with the documents. 😑 I have no one to blame but myself for this unnecessary stress.
I didn’t know that there was a new, simplified form to accommodate the changes from the TRAIN law, so I had filed one using the 1701 from 2013. Bragged about my accomplishment on Twitter, only for people to reply that there was indeed a new form called 1701A.
When I tried searching for the updated software, the 1st results were only the printable versions. I finally found the version 4 software here. Download, unzip, run, and install the offline eBIR forms software on your Windows OS. I recommend it over manual filing because it alerts you on missing, required fields, as well as does the computations based on the data you input.
Once the program is up, fill out the first page with personal information. From the dropdown menu, find the new file called 1701A. Click the button that says Fill Out beside it. Note that this form is for “Individuals that earn purely from Business or Profession under graduated income tax rates with OSD as mode of deduction OR those who opted to avail of the 8% flat income tax rate.” I don’t know what OSD stands for, but the latter applies to me.
1. Input the year relevant to your finances, in my case, the previous (2018).
2. Amended? Yes if you are correcting a previously filed form, No if you are filing for the first time. I’m unsure if there are penalties for amending, but I did read that you have three years to make any corrections.
3. Short period return? Don’t know what this means, but I put an X on No because I want my ITR to last forever 😂
4. Put your TIN. Find it on your COR (Certificate of Registration).
5. The code of your RDO (Regional District Office), where your COR was issued. Usually, the nearest to your residence.
6. Mine is Professional, as is stated on my COR.
7. Mine is II017, because a. my income is from my freelance services and b. I availed of the 8% tax on my renewal of registration in January. If you didn’t do the latter, you have to click the other one, which I believe is the old system.
8-12. Personal information, just read the format reqirements carefully e.g. surname first, birthday in MMDDYYYY.
13-14. No for me, but if you received taxable payments elsewhere, I suppose you should look into how this works.
15-18. Personal info, leave follow up questions blank if not applicable.
19. I chose 8% again.
Validate page at this point. If no error messages appear, move to next page.
Top fields for TIN and Name autopopulate on the offline eBIR Forms.
I left section IVA blank, because only IVB applied to me (8% Income tax rate).
47. This is where you put the total Gross income earned for the year. The amount you type in should have no decimals: round up or down as necessary. It will appear automatically on 49A and 53A, if no other values are subtracted from 48, 50-52.
54A. A fixed rate of 250,000 is subtracted from the gross. This computes and reflects on 55A and 56A.
57. Check the previous year’s ITR. If you had overpayment from the previous year, or an amount in parentheses, put in that value here. If this is your first ITR or had no overpayments, leave this blank.
58. The total of your previous quarters’ payments (1701Q version 2018).
59. The total of all withheld taxes from the 1st 3 quarters. You get this from adding all the gross amounts from your 2307s from your Payors.
60. Your withheld taxes from the 4th quarter (which is unfiled).
The next items were not applicable to me, so I left them blank. All the previous fields will compute for item 64 and 65.
65. Will show how much tax you need to pay. If it computes for an overpayment, it will appear as a negative value.
Validate and save. When you go back to Page 1, you will see that items under Part II will have autopopulated to reiterate your total tax payable.
When you’re feeling confident, Submit and Send Copy. Make sure you’re connected to the internet at this point, because it will send a copy for validation to BIR and the email address that you provided. Wait for the confirmation email, then print that and both pages of form 1701A. And you’re done!
The info I provided are based on my Taxpayer Type, Tax Code, and Tax Rate. How I learned to fill out some of the more specific fields are from my COR, and from the various employees of BIR that have familiarized me with the different forms through the years. The thing about BIR is it is still constantly changing. In effect, there is confusion on the systems, the rules, the forms, the rates, the processes, etc. I’d like to think this is because we are arriving at the most convenient way of filing taxes. Hopefully, we get there soon and standardize the system for years to come.
Areas for improvement on the offline eBIR forms include compatibility with Mac operating systems, and the option to export the forms to .pdf for easier saving and printing.
Hope this helps someone out there!