DOF hoping for swift Senate approval of tax reform
The head of the Duterte administration’s economic team on Tuesday said he hoped the Senate would heed President Duterte’s call to swiftly approve the first tax reform package.
“With the President’s certification of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (Train) bill as an urgent and a priority measure, complemented by the personal appeal he made before our lawmakers in his Sona [state of the nation address], we are hopeful that the Senate will pass the measure soon enough so that it could be implemented possibly by the third or fourth quarter of the year,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a statement.
During his Sona last Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Senate “to support my tax reform in full and to pass it with haste,” citing the “urgency” of comprehensive tax reform in his administration’s reform agenda.
“These reforms are designed to be pro-poor, especially when the people understand how the revenues will be spent,” Duterte said.
“The passage of the tax reform law is needed to fund the proposed 2018 budget,” the President added.
The proposed budget amounts to P3.767 trillion, the biggest to date.
“The poor and vulnerable are at the heart of my tax reform,” Duterte said. “Your full support will ensure that the benefits of the tax reform can be felt immediately by them.”
The first tax reform package was aimed at slashing personal income tax rates while jacking up taxes on consumption.
Before Congress went on sine die adjournment, the House of Representatives approved House Bill (HB) No. 5636 containing the proposal of the Department of Finance, as well as other related measures, including a P10 per liter excise tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, among others.
The DOF had nonetheless admitted that the House-approved version was watered down and would raise less revenues than the original proposal, hence posing a risk to the country’s investment grade credit ratings.
During the recess, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, conducted weekly public hearings on HB 5636 and related pending bills so that when Congress resumes, senators can immediately work on the tax reform proposal. /atm
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