BIR: Doctors can't bill hospital patients directly
MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is defending its new revenue regulation, which prevents doctors and other medical practitioners from billing their hospital patients directly.
The BIR on Tuesday had issued a new revenue regulation, which orders hospitals, clinics and health maintenance organizations to withhold and remit taxes from doctors and other medical practitioners, effective next month.
Patients who are admitted to a hospital will not be allowed to directly pay their doctors. The doctors' professional fees will be included in the total medical bills of patients.
"If you have in-patient care or patients checked in at hospitals, now it has to be billed by the hospital and the doctors cannot bill separately. That's the main difference of the revenue regulation," BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said in an interview with ANC.
Henares noted that presently, when patients pay their doctors, there is no withholding tax.
With the new regulation, she said the hospital would withhold the taxes. "In effect, the hospital will bill (the patient) and will enter it as part of their revenues. When they pay the doctor, they will expense it out...At the end of the day, the net effect is the same. The only difference now is the hospitals would withhold the taxes," the BIR chief said.
In its Revenue Regulation No. 14-2013, the BIR said "it shall be the duty and responsibility of the hospitals, clinics, HMOs and similar establishments to withhold and remit taxes due on the professional fees of their respective accredited medical practitioners, paid by patients who were admitted and confined to such hospitals and clinics."
A 15% tax is imposed on professional fees of a medical practitioner if these exceed P720,000 in a year. Otherwise, a 10% tax should be in place.
"For this purpose, hospitals and clinics shall not allow their medical practitioners to receive payment of professional fees directly from patients who were admitted and confined to such hospital or clinic, and instead, must include the professional fees in the total medical bill of the patient which shall be payable directly to the hospital or clinic," the BIR said.
The new regulation, which takes effect on October 1, is part of the BIR campaign to curb tax evasion, particularly among professionals.