May 16, 2019
The government’s tax effort climbed in the first quarter of 2019 on the back of a double-digit expansion in tax revenue, the Department of Finance (DoF) reported on Wednesday.
Tax collections as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 14.6 percent in the first three months of the year from 14.3 percent a year earlier, it said in an economic bulletin.
Tax revenues grew by 10.2 percent in the three months to March as collections of the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BoC) rose by 10.7 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.
In nominal terms, BIR collections reached P468.2 billion, while BoC recorded P141.9 billion during the period. “This is due to second phase of Train 1 and continued tax administration reforms,” the DoF said.
Implemented at the start of 2018, Train or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law exempts those earning annual taxable incomes of P250,000 and below from paying personal income taxes. In exchange, new taxes were imposed on fuel, sugar-sweetened beverages and non-essential cosmetic procedures, among others.
ING Bank Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa said, “the continued improvement in tax collections shows that the Philippines can rely on increased efficiency working in tandem with new streamlined and rationalized tax codes to help fund the ambitious spending plans of the government.” “The Philippines can continue to improve collections and the overall tax effort to eventually lower reliance on borrowing,” he added.
Non-tax revenues, meanwhile, rose by 17.6 percent “due to higher collections of dividend remittances on national government shares of stocks, guarantee fees, and share in the profits of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. or Pagcor,” the DoF said.
Earlier, Pagcor said it remitted an all-time high P16.17 billion in dividend contributions to the national treasury this year.
Overall, national government revenues rose by 11 percent to P687.7 billion during the three-month period. This resulted in a revenue effort of 16.3 percent, 0.5 percentage point higher compared to the 15.8 percent posted in the same quarter of last year.
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