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Lacson urges better collection, not more taxes

/ 10:34 PM May 29, 2019
Panfilo Lacson

Sen. Panfilo Lacson (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said the government should improve its tax collection measures instead of relying on raising taxes.

Lacson explained that the variance between the projected and actual collected tax reached P115 billion in 2013, P159 billion in 2014, P378 billion in 2016, and P562 billion in 2017.

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“I notice that year-in, year-out, we miss the targets, and the question is: What are the factors that sue the government to miss annually its tax revenue target?” Lacson said during the interpellation of the measure which seeks to increase excise tax on tobacco products.

“I would like to think that tax leakage is the biggest factor in missing the targets. And even our national government revenue program, it really causes a lot of uncollected revenues,” he added.

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Lacson said leakages often happen because of corruption, adding that with improved collection there might be no need to raise taxes.

“I still would insist ang leakage karamihan nanggagaling sa corruption, not from the traditional leakages,” Lacson said.

“Ang unang naiisip natin, the only, if not the primary solution, to increase revenue is to raise new taxes, even raise old taxes, when in fact if we go by the observation on a day to day basis, baka we don’t even need to be deliberating on new tax measures,” he added.

The senator also called for better interagency coordination to address the issue.

“We keep raising taxes, we keep passing the new revenue measures, but we don’t look at other possible sources of revenues, which is I think, ito ay mas malaki na name-miss natin,” Lacson said.

Sen. Sonny Angara, who sponsored the measure, agreed with Lacson, saying that other senators had expressed similar sentiments.

“If we were able to collect the potential, then there would be no need to raise [taxes],” Angara said.

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Under the tobacco tax bill, the tax on cigarettes would be raised by P10 per pack in 2020 — from the current P35 per pack to P45. This would rise again to P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022, and P60 in 2023.

There has been a call for the immediate passage of the bill for additional funding for the Universal Health Care Law.

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(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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TAGS: excise tax, Panfilo Lacson, Senate, tax, tax collection, tobacco
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