September 25, 2017, 1:34 am
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TRAIN up for plenary Sept. 20: Angara

The first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program will be up for plenary deliberations by September 20, according to Sen. Sonny Angara.

“We are still in the middle of collecting all the senators’ comments. But more or less it’s maybe 50 to 70 percent of what the Department of Finance (DOF) proposed,” Angara said.

“There were just differences in the levels, like they proposed the sugar-sweetened tax, we lowered it from P10 to P5, and then for the fuel tax, it’s still P6, we just changed the phasing but we’re still working on it,” he added.

Angara said the estimated net gain on the first year of implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) is about P130 billion.

During the Senate Ways and Means hearing on the TRAIN, several possible revenue-generating measures were discussed, which Angara said need to be studied.

Among these are plastic tax and cosmetic tax.

“Clearly the plastic bag levy needs to be studied further... even the DOF doesn’t know yet how to administer such a tax. I think that is not ripe yet,” Angara said.

“For cosmetics, we have to look at it if there’s a way that we can separate the vanity procedures from the medical procedures; if there is then we want to tax one but not the other,” he added.

Meanwhile, Karl Kendrick Chua, finance undersecretary, said the P134 billion net gain that the Lower House passed is already incorporated in the budget.

“So if they cut something, they have to find some alternative. As much as possible, we want them also to consider the bigger picture. There’s a lot more expenses to fund,” Chua said, citing the funds needed for the Free Tuition Law and the rehabilitation required for Marawi.

“The plastic and cosmetic (taxes) are not in our packages 1 to 5 but we will study them. But it’s too early, we have to do full homework,” he added.
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