DOF eyes tax amnesty before yearend
The much-awaited amnesty program for delinquent taxpayers may happen before the year ends as the Department of Finance eyes passage of pending legislation in June.
“To prepare for conditions of high growth and more intensive economic activity, we need to prepare our systems and institutions. This is the reason why we are pushing ahead with the succeeding packages of the tax reform program,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a speech during the 65th national convention of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines in Davao City on Monday.
Specifically, Dominguez said that the Department of Finance “[aims] to have a tax amnesty bill pass Congress in the next month.”
The 17th Congress will go on sine die adjournment starting June 2 and will resume session on July 23, during which President Duterte will deliver his third State of the Nation Address.
Asked when exactly would the government implement tax amnesty, Dominguez told finance reporters in a text message: “Depends [on] how complex the requirements will be but definitely before yearend.”
Tax amnesty forms part of tax reform package “1B,” an off-shoot of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law under Republic Act No. 10963 signed by President Duterte last December.
Besides general tax amnesty, package 1B also includes estate tax amnesty, higher motor vehicle user’s charge, bank secrecy relaxation, and automatic exchange of information.
A number of bills on tax amnesty were pending in both the Lower House and the Senate.
Tax package 1B was a result of the Senate’s removal of the tax administration measures from the original first tax reform package passed by the Lower House last year under House Bill No. 5636.
Once package 1B is passed, it will add about P40 billion in revenues this year.
In January, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that the general tax amnesty program alone may generate P26 billion in revenues for the government.
Dominguez earlier said that under its comprehensive tax reform program, the government was considering amnesty for taxpayers with deficiencies in payments of property taxes, estate taxes, regular taxes such as income taxes and value-added tax, as well as amnesty on pending cases in courts.
Dominguez had also said the DOF was looking at settlement through payment of a minimum of 40-percent basic tax as amnesty tax.
According to Dominguez, the amnesty program would be legislated “to clear up all tax cases.”
Chua had said the plan to legislate a final amnesty would be “absolute” in the sense that availment would clear all tax dockets in the bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs as well as in courts.
It would nonetheless exclude criminal cases, Chua had said.
Once legislated, there would no longer be further tax amnesty for the next 25 years, according to Chua.
The DOF had plans to impose a higher amount for delayed amnesty payments, while also planning to allow compromise for cases pending before the Court of Tax Appeals that have assessments, while those without assessments would have to pay 5-percent tax on net worth.
Also on Monday, Dominguez said that the DOF was “targeting the third week of July as the deadline for filing packages three and four with Congress,” referring to the tax packages covering property and capital income taxation, respectively.
The second tax package that will reduce corporate income tax rates while rationalizing the fiscal incentives being given away to investors is currently pending in the Lower House. /vvp
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