by Allan Yves Briones
The time is now.
Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III urged lawmakers to fast-track the implementation of the rest of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) before 2021.
“Look at what happened in 2015: everybody (started) focusing on something else. So we are sure, I don’t think that it will be that much; but this is the reality we have to face, so we have to finish this thing by 15 to 18 months,” Dominguez said to reporters at the 115th anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
According to Dominguez, as 2020 draws to a close, renewed focus would be on the preparations for the May 2022 Presidential elections, leaving possible beneficial tax reforms in the backburner.
The months before 2021, according to Dominguez, are the most opportune period to pass laws enforcing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and electronic cigarettes.
Under subsequent packages of the CTRP, when passed, it would legalize the lifting of bank secrecy laws for fraud cases, general tax amnesty, among other measures.
In addition, the CTRP promises lower corporate income taxes, the reformation of the property valuation system and allowing a flexible capital income system which addresses multiple rates and different tax treatments and exemptions.
Dominguez explained that “fiscal discipline guarantees not only prudent state spending, but also ensures that the government has enough resources so that new measures do not take away money from millions of poor Filipinos who also need help through existing programs.”
In 2018, the national government began the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law or TRAIN which cut personal income taxes in exchange for higher excise taxes on fuel, coal and sugary beverages.
According to DOF records, TRAIN netted the government an additional P68.4 billion.