Liquor tax hike to get House panel nod next week – solon
MANILA, Philippines — The House ways and means committee is expected to approve the imposition of higher taxes on alcoholic drinks early next week, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said.
Speaking at a weekly press forum on Wednesday, Salceda cited Section 48 of the House rules which enables committees to immediately refer bills — which have been approved in third and final reading in the previous Congress — for plenary deliberations even after only one meeting.
“A bill that has gone through third reading is considered reported out by approval of the majority of a quorum of the committee. In short, please expect that the alcohol taxes will be approved on Tuesday on the first meeting,” Salceda said.
He noted that the measure on the increase of the alcohol excise tax rate was at the top of the five priority measures that were agreed upon during Monday’s pre- Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting inMalacañang.
The health and finance departments had earlier proposed an increase in the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products to help fund the Universal Healthcare Act.
Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua told reporters after the forum that the Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposal would increase the excise tax on alcohol to P40 per liter, citing the growing risk of alcohol consumption.
“We’ve had an increase in taxes on tobacco products twice since 2012. But not on alcohol,” Chua said. “So we need to approve the increase at the same time,” Chua said.
He noted that, as people grow richer, they could afford to buy alcoholic drinks.
“But the health cost they cannot afford,” Chua said. “So we’re actually helping them through this excise tax.”
Higher tax on e-cigarettes, vapes
The Department of Finance (DOF) is also pushing for a further increase in taxes imposed on electronic cigarettes and vapes.
This developed after President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed a law imposing a higher excise tax on tobacco products.
During the forum, Chua said the finance department was proposing that taxes on e-cigarettes and vapes be at P45, which is higher compared to what is indicated under the new law.
Under Republic Act 11346, heated tobacco products or e-cigarettes will be taxed P10 a pack starting Jan. 1, 2020, to be followed by annual increases of 5 percent starting 2021.
Vapes, cartridges, refills, pods or containers of liquid solutions would be taxed P10 per 10 ml or a larger P50 on top of P10 per additional 10 ml for vape products being sold in volumes higher than 50 ml.
Vape products’ taxes’ meanwhile, would also increase 5% annually starting in 2021.
“Definitely a tax on vape is on the table…right now it’s P10…DOF wants it to go up to P45,” Salceda said.
According to the DOF, the proposed higher excise tax on alcoholic beverages and vapes is expected collectively to rake in P34.03 billion in 2020 should it be approved and implemented by January next year.
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