Inexistent in the System

The family advised me to get myself a BIR ID.

A BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) ID is sometimes known as the TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) ID. In my social circle, there are not that many people who have this ID although they have other government IDs. Why? I think it’s because they and other people already have their TIN, which is more used than the ID itself. When they do need government IDs, they already have the usual two that is required.

Because having one more government ID is good, I followed the advice and sought directions online.

Google results led me to sites – whose content were created or updated between 2015 and 2017 – that said I could go to any BIR branch near and have my ID made there. All I have to do was bring another valid ID and my NSO (National Statistics Office) birth certificate. If there weren’t that many people and an applicant arrived early, the ID could be made and received all in the same day. Sounds good!

I followed the instructions, only to be upset by the results. When I went to the BIR branch (also known as Regional District Office or RDO) nearest our house, I was told that their internal rules say that a person could only have their ID made at the RDO that issued the number to them.

Bummer.

So, I had to make a trip back to the heart of Manila. Everything was going alright, from the directions to the office to getting a number in the queue system until after the presentation of required identification. I couldn’t believe what they said after they searched for me in the system: the names I had on my ID and birth certificate did not match the name I had in their system. It was just one letter in place of another—but that little character made a big change, one too big to be ignored. One letter rendered me inexistent in the system. And it had been in effect for years! The surprised look on an unwitting person was probably familiar to them. I asked if it could be changed; if the record was from 2011 onward, the lady at the computer could. But because mine had been in place since 2008, it needed to be corrected with two copies of Form 1905 (form for updating information): one for them, another for the client.

Just one more question from them before I filled up the form: how sure was I that I am who I say I am?

With the most earnest expression, I told them the fact I belonged to the administration therefore I had access to records of employees – including me – giving me the confidence to claim I am the only one who worked at the old office with that full name. I was even prepared to show them my old company ID if I had to, but they took my word for it.

In truth, waiting for the ID should take about two hours. But I waited for a whole while longer because of the newly discovered mistakes in my personal information. And I was a buzzer beater for lunch.

So, if you should decide to get your own BIR ID, make sure you go to the office that issued you the number. Bring with you another government ID and your NSO birth certificate plus a photocopy of it—just in case you need to have something changed in your information.

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