MANILA: Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III reiterated Wednesday that the Duterte administration’s tax reform program must be approved in full or else it would not work.
As the Senate tackles the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) proposal, the first package of the administration’s tax reform program, Dominguez again insisted that the bill is not anti-poor.
He said everyone will benefit from tax reform, including minimum wage earners and those in the lower income brackets.
The finance chief also said government may issue vouchers for socialized housing.
Senators have expressed reservations about the plan to raise taxes on fuel and remove value-added tax (VAT) exemptions, seen to offset expected revenue losses due to the proposed lowering of personal income taxes.
The House of Representatives passed its own version of the tax reform bill in May.
Dominguez said it was time to raise taxes on fuel, which have remained untouched for 20 years. He added that the Philippines has too many VAT exemptions compared to other countries.
For one, he said, it was ridiculous that girl scouts are exempt from taxes when buying uniforms.
Dominguez also clarified that TRAIN, or Package 1 of the tax reform program, won’t affect business process outsourcing companies.
But Package 2, which will be released in October, will affect industries that enjoy fiscal incentives.
Dominguez complained that many companies have been enjoying fiscal incentives for 49 years. He said incentives in Package 2 will target certain industries, and will be performance-based and time-bound.