As a business owner, you must be concerned about paying the right taxes on the proper deadlines to avoid hefty penalties. However, no matter how diligent a business is, it is inevitable to encounter discrepancies and shortcoming when filing tax returns.
When the Bureau of Internal Revenue has questions regarding your returns, you have an obligation to the BIR and will be subject to the bureau’s evaluation and assessment. However, before the BIR can conduct an examination of your books, an Electronic Letter of Authority (eLA) must be properly served to the taxpayer.
The BIR has released a tax alert last October 6, 2020 called Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 110-2020, which clarifies the proper modes of service regarding the Electronic Letter of Authority (eLA). The Revenue Officers (RO) authorized to examine the books of accounts of a certain taxpayer are required first to serve an eLA to the said individual to his registered or known address.
However, there are instances when the taxpayer under question cannot be found in the registered address. This scenario can also apply to the taxpayer’s authorized representative. In the case of a non-individual taxpayer like a corporation, it is the authorized officer’s address that is also missing.
Because of the confusing situations, the BIR released a memo to clarify the modes of service of assessment notices. It is stipulated, however, that the assessment notices shall be provided under the previous Revenue Memorandum Order No. 40-2019 should also apply to eLAs with these considerations:
1. Personal Service
All attempts must be made to send the eLA to the taxpayer by personally delivering a copy of at the registered address. If this address is not known, it must be sent wherever the individual may be found. The RO assigned to the taxpayer or any BIR staff authorized for this task must conduct this personal service.
2. Substituted Service or through Mail
Should the personal service be an am impossible task, the eLA can be served utilizing the substituted serve or through old fashioned mail.
• Substituted service can only be undertaken when the taxpayer is not present at the registered address or if the address is unknown. Take note of the following considerations:
• Service through mail shall be conducted under the following parameters:
Keep in mind that the envelope containing the eLA, when sent by registered mail, courier service, or ordinary mail, must be printed with the following information on the lower front of the envelope: Return to Sender due to “Move Out”, “Unknown”, “Refused to Accept”, “No One to Receive”, or “Insufficient Address”. It must also contain provisions for the “Forwarding Address” and “Others” categories.
For both eLAs served via personal or substituted service, the receipts date, name and signature of the one receiving the document shall be indicated at the back of the duplicate. In case no one is there, the barangay official or witnesses, as applicable, must also sign the duplicate.
Personal service will be deemed successful and complete upon actual delivery and acceptance of the eLA to the taxpayer or the authorized representative. In the same token, registered mail is deemed completed when the taxpayer receives the document or after five days from the date of receipt of first notice of the postmaster, whichever comes first. In the meantime, service through the ordinary mail option is deemed completed when ten days have elapsed after mailing.
Take heed that the service to the tax agent, who is authorized or appointed by the taxpayer, is considered as service to the taxpayer, too.
As a business owner, it pays to know and be updated with new rules and regulations to protect your right as a taxpayer. If you have any questions or need assistance, schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation now.