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Senate OKs bicam report on tax reform bill

With a vote of 16-4, the Senate on Wednesday night ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed tax reform program, a priority of the Duterte administration.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have to ratify the bicam report before the measure is sent to Malacañang for the President’s signature.

Those who voted against the proposal are Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Ping Lacson, and Antonio Trillanes IV.

The sixteen senators who voted in favor are Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, JV Ejercito, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Tito Sotto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

The proposal exempts the first P250,000 annual taxable income of workers, and raised the tax exemption for 13th month pay and other bonuses to P90,000.

Citing data from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Senate Ways and Means Committee said 6.8 million or 90 percent of the 7.5 million individual income taxpayers will be exempt from paying taxes.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) will also impose a tax of P6 per liter for beverages using caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, and P12 per liter for beverages using high fructose corn syrup.

Excluded from the sweetened beverage tax is milk, 3-in-1 coffee, 100 percent natural fruit and vegetable juices, medically indicated beverages, and sweetened beverages using coco sugar and stevia.

The Senate and House of Representatives also agreed on imposing excise taxes on fuel, and other petroleum products.

Diesel fuel, which has no excise tax at present, would be imposed P2.50 per liter next year, P4.50 in 2019, and P6 in 2020 onwards.

LPG, meanwhile, will be imposed a tax of P1 per liter next year, P2 in 2019, and P3 in 2020 onwards. The current tax of P4.35 on regular and unleaded premium gasoline will be increased to P7 next year, P9 in 2019, and P10 in 2020 onwards.

On automobile excise taxes, Congress approved a four-tier tax scheme: four percent for cars with a net manufacturer’s price of up to P600,000; 10 percent for P600,000 to P1 million, 20 percent for P1 million to P4 million, and 50 percent for those above P4 million.

Excise taxes on tobacco products will also be increased to P32.50 for the first six months of 2018, then P35 from July 2018 to December 2019.

From 2020 to 2021, a tax of P37.50 will be imposed on tobacco products, while P40 will be imposed by 2022 to 2023.

The TRAIN will also impose a five-percent excise tax on cosmetic procedures, surgeries and body enhancements. It also increased the coal excise tax from P10 per metric ton to P50 per metric ton in the first year of the implementation of TRAIN, P100 in the second year, and P150 in the third and succeeding years.

For five years, the incremental revenues generated from the TRAIN shall be allocated to: 70 percent for the Build, Build, Build program and other infrastructure programs, and military infrastructure, among others.

The remaining 30 percent of the TRAIN revenues, meanwhile, will be distributed to education, targeted nutrition, social protection, unconditional cash transfer to the poorest 10 million Filipino families for a period of three years, fuel vouchers to qualified franchise holders of public utility jeepneys, among others. — BAP, GMA News