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What’s in TRAIN, the newly ratified tax reform program

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Both houses of Congress on Wednesday ratified the Duterte administration's tax reform program TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion), two days after a bicameral conference committee reconciled differing provisions of the Senate and House versions.

TRAIN is the first package of the government's Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) and aims to raise revenues for the administration's programs.

According to the Senate Ways and Means committee, 70 percent of the revenues from the first five years of the program will go towards the Build, Build, Build program and other projects, including military infrastructure and programs to address traffic congestion.

The remainder is earmarked for social programs, including an "unconditional" cash transfer program to the 10 million poorest families for three years.

TRAIN plans to reduce the personal income tax rate and at the same time increase excise taxes on petroleum products, automobiles, sugar-sweetened beverages and tobacco.

The value-added (VAT) tax base will also be expanded—even as its threshold is raised to P3 million—in a bid to benefit small businesses.

The bill will now be sent to Malacañang to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

— BM, GMA News

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