July 23, 2019
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged the 18th Congress to pass the remaining packages of his administration’s tax reform program, which he said would help finance its efforts to reduce poverty in the country.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address, Duterte implored “Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) or the Trabaho bill,” saying the program would “fund our poverty-reduction programs.”
According to him, the package — formally known as House Bill 8083, or the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher-quality Opportunities measure — “will gradually lower the corporate income tax and rationalize and improve fiscal incentives.”
This bill seeks to reduce that tax from 30 percent to 20 percent in 10 years.
Duterte also said Trabaho would also energize the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises and allow them to expand their business and hopefully generate 104 million jobs in the coming years.
He also asked the legislature “to pass the remaining packages of my administration’s tax reform program. And…raise the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol.”
According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, besides Trabaho, other packages yet to be approved are:
• Package 1B, which seeks to reform the Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge, lift the bank secrecy law, and the automatic exchange of tax information;
• Package 2 Plus, which aims to further increase the excise tax on alcohol to provide additional funding for the government’s Universal Health Care program, and increase the state’s share from mining;
• Package 3, which will broaden the tax base of property taxes of the national and local governments, thereby increasing government revenues without increasing the existing tax rates or devising new tax impositions; and
• Package 4, which proposes the rationalization of capital income tax to address the multiple rates and different tax treatments and exemptions on capital income and other financial instruments.
The first package — Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (Train) — was implemented in January 2018 after Duterte signed it the month before. This law reduced personal income taxes in exchange for higher excise taxes on certain products, including automobiles, coal and sugar-sweetened beverages.
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