By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) is proposing to further raise the levies imposed on tobacco and coal along with other industries including alcoholic beverage, casino, and mining to raise revenues for the government’s ambitious infrastructure plan.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that the fiscal authorities will submit to the House of Representatives a new tax reform bill, which will be called “package two plus,” before the end of this month.
Dominguez, in his presentation before the members of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), announced that the so-called “package two plus” will consist of taxes on tobacco, alcohol, mining, coal and casinos.
The composition of the DOF’s proposed “package two plus” came as a surprise to the tobacco and coal sectors as the government had just recently implemented an increase in their excise tax rates under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Last week, the DOF submitted to the lower House the second part of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program, which covered reforms on corporate taxation and modernizing fiscal incentives.
Dominguez said that package two plus is not a new measure, noting that the plan to impose higher taxes on sin products, luxury and distractive industry is part of the Duterte administration’s CTRP proposals.
On tobacco taxation, Dominguez said there are currently two proposed bills pending in the Senate which the DOF intends to support, the first measure is from Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, and the second is from Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito.
“We will help them with it. You see the senators want to increase the tax on cigarettes. One wants to bring it up to P60, the other one wants to bring it up to P90. But there are other non-tax measures that we might be able to put in. But again we will discuss it with them,” Dominguez said. Asked if the DOF plans to bring the excise tax rate on tobacco to P90 per pack as proposed by Ejercito, Dominguez said the that level is “too high.”
“They have to calculate what the point at which demand will go down and our tax take will be less actually, so I think R90 will exceed that already. But I think, those numbers are not firmed up,” Dominguez said.
For gaming business, Dominguez said that the DOF will propose to collect value-added tax (VAT) on gaming income, while the government also plans to rationalize the tax system governing the mining sector.
“The revenue from mining comes from many sources. One is excise tax, the others are the other fees that they have to pay. We have to rationalize those,” Dominguez said.