MANILA (Mabuhay) – Congress will prioritize a comprehensive tax reform bill that will primarily simplify the country’s tax system, lower income tax, and at the same time increase the number of taxpayers.
The Senate and the House of Representatives agreed on Monday to urgently tackle the adjustment of taxes that will give economic relief to Filipinos who, according to studies, continue to pay one of the highest taxes in Asia.
Marikina City Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, has been spearheading the TRIGR (Tax Reform for Inclusive Growth) campaign, which aims to overhaul the income tax system to adapt to present realities.
His bill, HB No. 4829, seeks to correct the current income tax situation wherein: (1) minority of Filipino workers pay the majority of tax payments; (2) the middle class shoulders the bulk; and (3) that households headed by self-employed have the lowest tax participation rates.
Quimbo said he is elated that leaders of both Houses recognize the urgency and significance of legislating tax reforms in accordance with the government’s goal of inclusive growth.
“A fair and equitable tax system is a cornerstone of inclusive growth. If we really want to achieve inclusive growth, we cannot disregard the plight of our taxpayers and continue bleeding them dry through our flawed tax system,” he said.
“The current tax system puts too much burden on the lowly taxpayer but little on the well-to-do. We have to empower them. Reforms must take place now,” he added.
The senior House official expressed confidence that the reforms will be legislated since most priority measures agreed by both Houses have been enacted into law.
“Support for the TRIGR movement does not only emanate from the citizenry. My colleagues in the legislature have likewise expressed their support, even clamor, for tax reforms,” Quimbo pointed out.
The passage of the measure will result in a reduction in Direct Income Tax Revenues from the salary of wage earners but most importantly it will be mitigated by an increase in Indirect Tax Revenues.
The Marikina lawmaker noted that the proposed tax system will make compliance by the self-employed and businessmen easier.
“They refuse to pay taxes today because of the overly complex system,” he stressed.
The committee chair will formally present the bill on Wednesday during the hearing of the Ways and Means Committee to be attended by representatives of the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, among others.
Quimbo has been working hand-in-hand with his Senate counterpart, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, in their shared goal of lowering income taxes. (MNS)