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Posts Tagged ‘books of accounts’


Preservation of Books of Accounts and Accounting Records in Philippines

Preservation of books of accounts PhilippinesBy: Tax and Accounting Center Philippines

The Bureau  of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Regulations No. 17 – 2013 dated September 27, 2013 (RR No. 17-2013) prescribing the guidelines on the preservation of books of accounts and other accounting records in the Philippines.

Preservation within ten (10) years from last entry

Under RR No. 17-2013, taxpayers are required to preserve their books of accounts as follows:

“All taxpayers are required to preserve their books of accounts, including subsidiary books and other accounting records, for a period of ten (10) years reckoned from the day following the deadline in filing a return, or if filed after the deadline, from the date of filing of the return, for the taxable year when the last entry was made on the books of accounts”

In the past, the requirement is to preserve books of accounts and other accounting records in the Philippines for a period of three (3) years is no longer applicable.

Preservation more than ten (10) years

In case the taxpayer has a pending protest or claim for tax credit certificate of tax refund, and the books of accounts and other accounting records are material to the case, then, books of accounts and other accounting records in the Philippines must be preserve until the case is finally resolved. This would mean that such period could go for more than ten (10) years.

Coverage of Books of accounts and Other Accounting Records

Books of accounts refers to the BIR-registered books of accounts in the Philippines – manual books of accounts, loose-leaf books of accounts, and computerized books of accounts both for value added tax (VAT) and non-value added taxpayers (non-VAT). On the other hand, “other accounting records” includes corresponding invoices, receipts, vouchers and returns, and other source documents supporting the entries in the books of accounts.  Books of accounts and other accounting records are required to be preserve within ten (10) years from date of last entry.

When to start counting 10-year period for preservation

The counting of the preservation would start from the last entry on the books of accounts referring to a particular business transaction or an item thereof that is entered or posted last or latest in the books of accounts when the same was closed.

Notably, registration of new sets of manual books of accounts is upon consumption of its pages so that if you have in your books of accounts transactions for five (5) years, then, such books of accounts should be preserved for a total period of fifteen (15) years.

Obligations of CPA’s to preserve AFS for 10 years

An independent certified public accountant (CPA) who audited the books of accounts and other accounting records of the taxpayer has the responsibility to maintain and preserve copies of the audited and certified financial statements for a period of ten (10) years from the due date of filing annual income tax return or actual date of filing thereof, whichever comes earlier, unless a longer retention period is required under the National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines (NIRC), as amended, or other relevant laws.

Place of Preservation of Books of Accounts in the Philippines

All books, registers and other records, and vouchers and other supporting papers required by the BIR shall be kept at all times at the place of business of the taxpayer. Books of accounts may be inspected by the BIR and examined for purposes of the following:

  • Regular audit,
  • Extraordinary audit,
  • Requests for exchange of information by a foreign tax authority under Sections 6 and 71 of the NIRC, and,
  • In the exercise of BIR Commissioner’s power to obtain information under Section 5 of the NIRC,

Examination of books of accounts may be made in the taxpayer’s office or place of business or in the office of the BIR.

Penalties for violation of RR No. 17-2013

Violations of RR No. 17-2013 on the preservation of books of accounts shall be subject to penalties provided in Sections 266, 275, and other pertinent NIRC provisions, and Section 6 of Republic Act No. 10021 (Exchange of Information on Tax Matters Act of 2009).

Effectivity of RR No. 17-2012

RR No. 17-2013 shall take effect within fifteen days from general publication on September 28, 2013 with the Manila Bulletin and Philippine Daily Inquirer.


In effect, RR No. 17-2013 increased the preservation period from the 3-year period to 10-year period from last entry on the books of accounts in order not to prejudice the government in the conduct of tax examinations in the Philippines in the absence of such books of accounts and other accounting records in the Philippines. It is now the obligation of the taxpayer to see to it that its books of accounts in the Philippines are well preserved. Taxpayers are advised to impose security measures, especially those situated in calamity prone areas – flood, storm, fire, etc.

Disclaimer: This article is for general conceptual guidance only and is not a substitute for an expert opinion. Please consult your preferred tax and/or legal consultant for the specific details applicable to your circumstances. For comments, you may please send mail at info@taxacctgcenter.orgor you may post a question at Tax and Accounting Center Forum and participate therein.

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Books of Accounts of Taxpayers in the Philippines

All persons engaged in trade or business, or in the practice of profession registered with the Bureau of internal Revenue (BIR) are required to maintain books of accounts. Books of accounts are required to be registered with the BIR and is where your records all financial transactions about your business.  Entries in the books of accounts are matters of past transactions and events and are required to be supported by documents and papers such as official receipts, sales invoices, vouchers, and other related documents and papers evidencing completed business transactions.  Your books of accounts will tell whether you paid the rightful amount of taxes due to the BIR so extra care and effort should be exerted in preparing the same to avoid unnecessary penalties.

The BIR allows three types of books of accounts  – (1) manual books of accounts, (2) computerized books of accounts, and (3) loose-leaf books of accounts. It is the taxpayer who determines which of the three types would he adopt. However, Large Taxpayers duly notified by the BIR are mandated to use computerized accounting system. Of course, failure to maintain books of accounts is subject to penalties, or worst, imprisonment for willful and fraudulent intent to evade taxes.

Manual books of accounts

These are the readily available in the market and compiled ones you can normally buy from bookstores pre-printed with the corresponding names – Journal, Ledger, Columnar Journals, etc. Entries in the books of accounts based on the business documents and papers are recorded in a handwritten manner. You register the same initially after the release of your BIR Certificate of Registration. As soon as the pages are consumed, you are allowed to register additional volumes.

 Computerized books of accounts

This represents the series of programs and operations configured into an accounting system and duly registered with the BIR. Upon registration, BIR will verify its capability to process the information accurately and the same will be undertaken through their developing a deeper understanding of the process and through some walk-through tests. This normally requires some amount of investment depending on the complexity of your operations. You can either secure the services of an IT-expert on accounting systems development customized to the complexities of your business operations, or you can simply buy readily available accounting systems in the market – e.g. QuickBooks, Peachtree, myob, zero, sap, etc. BIR registration of systems bough in the market may seem to be easier because of BIR’s familiarity in other application for registrations of other taxpayers, as compared to customized accounting systems that has to go through a thorough system evaluation by the BIR.

Loose-leaf books of accounts

This refers to loose sheets of computer printed books of accounts not generated under a computerized books of accounts. In other words, this is not a computerized accounting system simply printed, but, are simply computerized instead of being handwritten. For BIR registration, the BIR will require you to justify the need to adopt the same in lieu of the manual or computerized books. You will likewise need to present a sample print outs. Said sample print-outs will be book-bound and will be submitted to the BIR for stamping.

As to component parts, such books of accounts would depend on their BIR registration – value added tax (VAT) or other percentage tax (OPT or Non-VAT). VAT registered is normally required to maintains six (6) components, while OPT or NON-VAT registered taxpayers are normally required to maintain at least four (4) components as follows:

For VAT and Non-VAT or OPT registered

  • Journal
  • Ledger
  • Cash Receipts Books
  • Cash Disbursements Books

For VAT Registered

  • Subsidiary sales journal
  • Subsidiary purchases journal

Please note that keeping books of accounts is critical for your business because it is where all your business transactions are recorded. Based on such records, tax returns and other tax compliance matters are prepared. If your bookkeeper prepares your returns without any books of accounts as basis, I suggest you consider securing their explanation as to the basis of your returns because it appears to be risky.

Books of accounts will need to be audited by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at the end of the taxable year as a matter of BIR requirement once your quarterly gross sales or receipts or earnings exceed P150,000.00, except, sole proprietors who opted for optional standard deduction. In an audit, the independent CPA or auditor will determine whether or not your books of accounts are prepared in accordance with the prescribed accounting rules – Philippine Financial Reporting Standards (PFRS). Audited Financial Statements will then be issued and will be attached to the annual income tax return (ITR) for filing with the BIR.

As a check and balance of your tax compliance, the BIR has the right to examine your books of accounts within three (3) years from date tax returns are required to be filed or from late filing of tax returns. Fraudulent returns or failure to file returns could be assessed within ten (10) years from discovery of fraud or falsity.  During tax examinations of BIR, their tax auditors will conduct the verification and assessments through the books of accounts. Books of accounts are the responsibility of the taxpayer and it would not matter to the BIR who your bookkeeper is. In case of erroneous entries, BIR will run after you and not your retainer paid bookkeeper or employed accounting staff. Thus, we suggest that you give your best shot in choosing a good bookkeeper.


References for more readings…

Section 232 of the Tax Code, as amended

Revenue Regulations No. V-I

Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 20-2001, as amended by RMO No. 29-2002

Revenue Memorandum No. 13-82



We offer a once-a-month seminar-workshop on how to maintain your manual books of accounts that you may either do it yourself, or that you may effectively supervise the work of your accounting staff or retainer paid bookkeeper:

Disclaimer: This article is for general conceptual guidance only and is not a substitute for an expert opinion. Please consult your preferred tax and/or legal consultant for the specific details applicable to your circumstances.

Related Services

Bookkeeping Services. With our years of practice and being with the academe, we are confident that we could assist you maintain your books of accounts and prepare your tax returns in the light of the present rules, and regulations. We understand your financials and charges are at reasonable rates.

Tax Management and Compliance Consultancies. With our tax services, we can assist you ensure tax compliance and in the management of such continuing compliance. Proper compliance would bring about tax savings form avoiding being penalized to tax minimization strategies.

Quality Seminars and Trainings. We conduct other seminars, workshops and trainings on BIR tax compliance that you may learn to do your bookkeeping your own or at least develop working knowledge sufficient to supervise the work of your hired bookkeeper. Hereunder are our programs you could choose from:

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6 Qualities of a Good Bookkeeper

In practice, a bookkeeper is the term used to refer to a person who handles the books of accounts and tax compliance of a taxpayer business enterprise. A bookkeeper could be an employee hired for the purpose, or an independent person retained by the taxpayer. An independent person could be an individual practitioner or a firm engaged for such bookkeeping activities, either, as a corporation or as an outsourcing group of an accounting firm.

Under the present rules, a practitioner who prepares books of accounts and tax returns, or appears/ represents a tax authority for and in behalf of a taxpayer has to be an accredited tax agent in order to bind clients. The purpose of the requirement is to impose accountability for the tax agent and for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to regulate their conduct and ensure smooth application of tax rules and regulations for effective tax administration. However, this does not excuse the taxpayer from its full responsibility over the books of accounts and the tax returns duly filed.

Should the BIR finds irregularities and misstatements, it is still the taxpayer who is principally bound to pay and not the bookkeeper. BIR runs after the taxpayer for civil liability, and worst prosecutes taxpayers for tax evasion charges, if warranted.

To minimize the risk of liability would be to see to it that your hired bookkeeper is the right person for the job, and that you properly supervise its work.  To supervise them would be to equip yourself with a working knowledge, or the technical knowledge for better supervision. To determine a good bookkeeper to consider, we have summarized the following characteristics as a simple guide for your reference.

1. Professional competence

Bookkeeping is a work of a professional not only by physical appearance and conduct in its dealings, but, more importantly, in its technical knowledge or professional competence. Accredited tax agents does not require a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) title, not even a college degree title. It would be better if you could have a titled one, but we suggest you inquire further as to its experience and ability to deliver your requirements and expectations in ensuring compliance with the tax and accounting rules, and regulations. Ask questions about the tax and accounting implications of your operations and related problem areas, as well, and evaluate the bookkeeper’s answers to determine its deep understanding of the issues and how it develops its approaches. In the process, you will develop an idea of how competent the bookkeeper is. You can always seek second opinion to validate and appreciate his answers.

2. Resourcefulness

Business is not always perfect and problems or issues or challenges comes once is a while. A good bookkeeper is one who sees light in the dark times of its client. A bookkeeper is a waste basket of client’s issues or headaches and must treat each of them as a challenge, not a headache in themselves. For accounting and tax concerns, your bookkeeper should be on top of the situation to give you an informative advice. It may not always possess the best answers right away all the time, but must learn how to get the best options in a timely manner. There could be a lot of ways to know them and may consume time, but a resourceful one could do it the best way in a timely manner. The bookkeeper would be honest enough to admit that he does not have the “answer” at hand and will tell you it will get back to you for the answer. Ask how it got the answer that you might see how he applied its being resourceful enough to determine solutions.

3. Transparently honest

Gone are the days when the bookkeeper simply says, “I will take care of it, worry not about it“, during issues and concerns. If you do it now, then, you might be prone to surprises of having to pay penalties for things you are not aware of the way some clients experienced. A good one will analyze the issue at hand, advise you of the consequences and opportunities, if any. After identifying the problem, it will determine alternative solutions and after explaining its pros and cons, will give you an honest recommendations on the best option the way it sees it for you to decide. Bookkeepers and professional advisers do not decide for you, they, just give you a picture of the holistic view, and recommend for your consideration. You could choose that which you think is best, after all, its your liability and your business assets are at stake. The point is, you were provided by the bookkeeper with the details of the issue and the alternatives in arriving at the decision right for you.

4. Client focused

This is the personal aspect of the dealing with the bookkeeper. As we conceptualize professional dealings – “Client success is our delight and ultimate happiness“. This would mean that the bookkeeper does not only concentrate on the fee it will earn from you, but, for the benefit you will enjoy from his services. One who loves his work, does his work with all his heart giving less regard to the profits it will generate as it would only be an incident of such love of work. A good bookkeeper should be attentive to the needs of its clients, be mindful of the risks its clients are exposed that it may timely apply remedial measures, and be alert of the opportunities its clients may enjoy – say, from new regulations beneficial to clients.

5. Accessible

Our present world is an era of high technology where all means of communication is available to the willing and determined service provider. A good bookkeeper is visible to the client. This means that, in case of need, you can easily access the bookkeeper for concerns and issues. He might not be available during midnight when you are at peak thinking about the issue and submitted to it your burden, but a good one, would jump to its feet to respond within the first opportune time to make you feel his presence.

6. Professionally active

As we know it, change is permanent. Rules and regulations, practices, and business circumstances keeps on changing and changing. A good bookkeeper should be professionally active to learn anew. With his professional dealings, the bookkeeper will encounter new and exciting things on how things are being efficiently done and such things could be applicable to your circumstances for your advantage. Determine your bookkeepers circle of friends – portfolio of clients, professional affiliations, its network of professionals, and even his personal friends, if practical, to his how active he is.



The above enumerations are simple guidelines and are not exclusive. There could be more good qualities depending on how you see it and you may also consider them in hiring a bookkeeper or in maintaining one. After all, its your call and you will be accountable for your choice. Being the best is relative and not absolute in anybody else. One could be best in one aspect, but is low on other aspects. You do not need a perfect one, just one who will bring up your best in your business dealings in your road to success.

Evaluate now the qualities of your bookkeeper and determine for yourself if they are worth keeping. If they do not, then, let this be your opportunity to change for the better and for the best interest of your business success. You exert too much effort in your business dealings and you deserve a better bookkeeper to walk with in your road to success.


Disclaimer: This article is for general conceptual guidance only and is not a substitute for an expert opinion. Please consult your preferred tax and/or legal consultant for the specific details applicable to your circumstances.

Related Services

Bookkeeping and Tax Compliance Education. We offer range of quality seminars, trainings, and workshop geared towards developing the required knowledge in tax and accounting compliance.

Bookkeeping Services. With our years of practice and being with the academe, we are confident that we could assist you maintain your books of accounts and prepare your tax returns in the light of the present rules, and regulations.

Tax Management and Compliance Consultancies. With our tax services, we can assist you ensure tax compliance and in the management of such continuing compliance. Proper compliance would bring about tax savings form avoiding being penalized to tax minimization strategies. Likewise, we could assist you in securing a BIR ruling confirming the applicable tax exemptions.(Post viewed 2780 times)


BIR Audited Financial Statements, when mandatory?

By this post, let us answer the question of SMEs on whether or not financial statements are mandated to be audited by an independent Certified Public Accountant.

Section 232 of the Tax Code, as amended provides, and hereunder quoted:

Section 232. Keeping of Books of Accounts. – (A) Corporations, Companies, Partnerships or Persons Required to Keep Books of Accounts. – All Corporations, Companies, Partnerships or persons required by law to pay internal revenue taxes shall keep a journal and a ledger or their equivalents: Provided, however, That those whose quarterly sales, earnings, receipts, or output do not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) shall keep and use simplified set of bookkeeping records duly authorized by the Secretary of Finance where in all transactions and results of operations are shown and from which all taxes due the Government may readily and accurately be ascertained and determined any time of the years: Provided, further, That corporations, companies, partnerships or persons whose gross quarterly sales, earnings, receipts or output exceed One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000) shall have their books of accounts audited and examined yearly by an independent Certified Public Accountants x x x.”(Emphasis supplied)

From the above, individual and corporate taxpayers with gross quarterly sales, earnings, receipts or output exceeding P150,000.00 are mandated to file a FINANCIAL STATEMENTS audited by an INDEPENDENT CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT (CPA). It does not however require each of all the four (4) quarters in a year to reach more than the P150,000 for mandatory audit to apply. For as long as one quarter exceeded the P150,000, then, it becomes mandatory. Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) may refuse filing unaudited financial statements as an attachment to the income tax return (ITR) if it would not comply, and may impose penalties upon failure to file or late filing, or worst, if a taxpayer will fraudulently fail to file, BIR may assess based on presumptive fraud within the period of ten (10) years from discovery.

However, under the regulations implementing Optional Standard Deduction (OSD), Revenue Regulations No. 16-2008 & 16-2010, individuals who avail of the OSD are no longer required to file audited financial statements. Thus, it becomes optional for sole proprietorships to undergo the audit and if we are to be asked, we would humbly recommend audit for the benefits that it normally brings such as the following:

a. It serves as check and balance over the work of the bookkeeper, in-house or retainer-paid;

b.Proper valuation of the accounts – assets, liabilities, and equity; and,

c. Audited financial statements becomes readily available in case of need (say, securing a loan from banks, presentation to potential clients, and more)

For corporate taxpayers, they are required by the SEC to file audited financial statements regardless of the above rule. This is a mandatory reportorial requirement every year, and SEC will not accept filing unless the same is stamped filed by the BIR. For individuals however, it is only with the BIR that the financial statements are to be prepared and not required to be filed with the SEC so the P150,000 rule applies.

Notably, not all CPA’s can do the audit and sign on the financial statements. In general, a CPA must be duly accredited by the Board of Accountancy-Philippine Regulation Commission (BOA) and by the BIR as tax agent. In some industries like banks and financial institutions, accreditation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or cooperatives, accreditation by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), or insurance and related companies, accreditation by the Insurance Commission.

If the audited financial statements would be signed by a non-accredited CPA, the taxpayer will be penalized and the CPA may be reprimanded, or worst, license could be revoked. The taxpayer could not rely heavily on the misrepresentation of the CPA, if any that it is duly accredited, so it has to exert effort to assure that the CPA is indeed, duly accredited.(Post viewed 15732 times)


Bookkeeper and Auditor, Understanding their Works

For small & medium entrepreneurs, this has long been a misconception. For most, this works as “two birds for one stone” because for them, having a bookkeeper is likewise having an auditor. This is not how it is and we wish to share the distinctions below for guidance and better appreciation.

To start with, bookkeeping is different from auditing. Bookkeeping deals with maintaining the records of the day to day transactions on the books of accounts of the taxpayer. In practice, it includes preparation of monthly and quarterly BIR reports (withholding returns, VAT or OPT returns, and income tax returns). On the other hand, auditing is the periodic examination on the work of the bookkeeper or company prepared financial statements lifted from the books of accounts to express an opinion on whether or not such records were maintained in accordance with existing accounting rules, the generally accepted accounting principles.

Auditor is required to be professionally independent in mental attitude so the opinion will not be bias. As such, bookkeeper is not allowed to issue an opinion because it will obviously be a bias or one-sided. Normally, very exceptional is the event that one admits his own mistakes, so if the bookkeeper will be allowed, it will tend to uphold its own deeds. Audited financial statements (AFS) is for use of the internal and external users (e.g. the managements, authorities, suppliers, banks, employees,  and the public) so that the CPA opinion adds credibility to such audited financial statements.

As to qualifications, an auditor requires Board of Accountancy (BOA) accreditation and the requirements are geared toward maintaining a degree of technical knowledge of accounting and taxation rules and of maintaining professionalism in observing the rules. On the other hand, a bookkeeper is not required such accreditation and you can have anybody who can understand how to do it – not even a CPA for a lesser fee.

As to documentation, bookkeeper may record anything that the client would want to put on the books, whatever it takes. If its courteous enough to warn the client of the consequences, then, it will advise, otherwise, it will simply record the same regardless of the impending harm and risks to its client. After all, the books of accounts are the responsibility of the management and not of the bookkeeper. In turn, it is the duty of the client to hire a better bookkeeper capable of giving advice as to the technicalities and avoid trouble at the end of the day. On the other hand, an auditor must express its opinion based on documents and papers that would satisfy his professional judgment and would support his opinion. It is responsible for his opinion and if it would say that financial statements are fairly presented, it presupposes that it was supported by proper documentations. If it turns out to be not, then, it can have its CPA license revoked upon discovery and proceedings and the taxpayer client may likewise end up with penalties. Worst, both of them can go to jail, if proven to have evaded taxes.

On bookkeeping services, attestation is not included because of the professional limitation. Bookkeeper will handle recording on your books or accounts, preparing financial reports for management, and preparing monthly and quarterly BIR reports depending on the agreed scope. It may prepare the draft financial statements and ITR at the end of the year for the audit of the independent CPA. With some acquaintances of the bookkeeper who could audit and sign the AFS, it would be easier to comply AFS and ITR much earlier than the last few days of the deadline. Suffice it to say that the financial statements should be in keeping with the present rules, e.g. required BIR disclosures, and mandatory notes to audited financial statements.

You might have been exposed with the old ways were CPAs does everything at client’s pleasure and in whatever means. Gone are those days and I fear that it is risky now to continue that practice. BIR is now becoming more sophisticated using the present computer technology. They can see on the system whether a taxpayer is compliant or not and before taxpayers knew it, they might be in trouble already.


Related Services: (Please contact us for related concerns)

  •  BIR Bookkeeping & Compliance Services. Based on the documents provided to us, we prepare maintain the books of accounts, prepare periodic reports, prepare and file after client approval the periodic tax returns, and advice clients on matters related to the books of accounts.
  • BIR Compliance Review & Consultancy. Based on client prepared BIR tax return, books of accounts, and related substantiation, we apply our expertise in reviewing to see to it that the drafts comply the requirements of the tax and accounting regulations and standards.

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