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The Philippines’ First Cloud-Based Software for Tax Paying and Permit Renewal

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for governments and businesses to provide more e-services, and as more of our daily lives move online, e-services will become critical for the efficient operation of both. These e-services are now assisting in getting stimulus funds into the hands of consumers more rapidly. E-government emerged as an important aspect in the delivery of public services. However, some local government e-services only offer interactive content such as application procedures and downloading of forms, and the process takes so long to complete.

As most businesses and services around the globe transition into online-based systems, paying tax or even renewing business permits can be done online instead. To address this, the Philippines’ first cloud-based software that enables local government units to process applications for new business permits and applications for renewal of business permits electronically has been launched by The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The Department of Information and Communications Technology – Luzon Cluster 1 led the rollout, in partnership with the Department of the Interior Local Government – Cordillera Administrative Region (DILG-CAR) and the Department of Trade and Industry – Cordillera Administrative Region (DTI-CAR).

“As part of our digital transformation efforts in the new normal, your DICT aspires to automate and modernise our local government units. To do this, we are tirelessly working to provide the software to localities nationwide, especially those classified as third to sixth class municipalities,” the DICT secretary said in a statement.

End users registering through the system only need to fill out the application form and upload the necessary documentation. The software also includes payment for the permit. Permits can then be issued to the applicant on the same day.

The DICT LC1 regional director cited the Bontoc local government unit as the first in the province to take advantage of the programme. He expressed confidence that the system will be able to streamline regulatory processes in the municipality’s business registration.

Other system features that will benefit citizens’ access to information include the retirement of businesses and business lines, computerised assessment of fees, taxes, and charges, online printing of Tax Orders of Payment and Business Permits, and an endorsement module for the Office of the Building Official and other LGU concerned offices.

Meanwhile, during the cloud-based launch press conference, DICT Secretary mentioned that one of the President’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda is to increase competitiveness and ease of doing business through automation. She stated that “Taking action on the call of the President to reduce the requirements and processing time of all government transactions, the DICT has developed a cloud-based software that allows the taxpayers to file their application for new and renewal of business permits online, enabling the LGUs to process these applications electronically.”

The secretary also mentioned that this process which shortens the time and at the same providing up to date information will set a standard business process flow for the online processing of business permits as citizens can just log on to the LGU’s website and access the software to submit their applications online and the scanned copies of documentary requirements.

“LGUs are directed to process business registrations within two days for new business permit applications and one day for business permit renewals, requiring two signatories, namely the Mayor (or designated representative) and the treasurer as recommending approval. With the aid of the e-software, compliance to the new service standards only takes about 30 minutes,” she then added.

Most technologically advanced governments were prepared to respond quickly to Covid-19 lockdown disruptions by providing instant electronic means to register new businesses, file taxes, renew driver licences, and file court applications. Similarly, businesses made rapid shifts into the e-services sector, allowing them to continue operating, albeit under drastically different conditions.

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