Palace upbeat over Senate OK of tax plan

By Christina Mendez

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is upbeat over the Senate’s decision to pass the administration’s comprehensive tax reform program, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) last Tuesday, in hopes its implementation next year will further improve the country’s economic growth.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the TRAIN is seen as a boost to the government’s tax collection efforts by generating up to P130 billion additional revenue from the Senate version.

The House of Representatives approved on May 31 a counterpart measure of TRAIN.  Under the Senate version, tax exemption starts Jan. 1, 2018 for individuals earning P250,000 and below a year.

Roque said the target tax collection will boost the government’s Build Build Build program, which will also further improve the country’s economic growth pegged at 6.7 percent annually.

 Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, has enumerated some of the salient points of the Senate version that also provides a three-tier imposition of excise tax of P1.75 on fuel and bunker fuel on the first year, P2 on the second year and P2.25 on the third year. 

The House version seeks to impose a P3 excise tax on the first year, P2 on the second year, and P1 on the third year.

Under the Senate version, Angara said the government will impose a two-tier tax scheme on automobiles— 10 percent on price of cars valued up to P1 million and 20 percent for those valued over P1 million.

For sweetened beverages, a nine percent tax would be imposed for those using high fructose corn syrup and P4.50 per liter for beverages using caloric and non-caloric sweeteners. All milk will be exempt from tax because of its nutritional value and also coffee since it is one of the “most consumed food items of ordinary Filipinos.”

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