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DOF expects tax amnesty law in place next April


By Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) expects the proposed tax amnesty would be passed into law by September this year to pave the way for its implementation in April next year.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government plans to tag along the tax amnesty program with the filing season for the income tax return (ITR), which falls in April.

“Most likely the amnesty will come in April also,” Dominguez told reporters in an interview at the DOF headquarters. “We don’t want the taxpayer to be filing many things — they will only need to file one, the amnesty and income tax at the same time.”

But Dominguez also said the government would be willing to give incentives to taxpayers who will settle their tax deficiencies before April next year.

“If you declare early, the amount is less as you delay, it gets more and more. We will also do the same, we will give them an incentive if they will file early,” Dominguez said.

The finance department expects the latest tax amnesty program would yield around R13.6 billion in non-recurring revenues.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said the government will implement a general tax amnesty to lure individuals and corporations with outstanding liabilities to settle their obligations without fear of being slapped with criminal charges.

Currently, there is a proposal pending in Congress seeking a general tax amnesty aimed at expanding the tax base by luring untaxed individuals or tax evaders.

The amnesty, however, will not cover those with pending cases involving “unexplained or unlawfully acquired wealth,” or under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and persons charged with violating the Anti-Money Laundering Law, among others.

In April last year, Dominguez III said that he wanted the lifting of the country’s bank secrecy policies to come along with the tax amnesty.

The twin tax measures are now under the DOF’s so-called tax reform for acceleration and inclusion (TRAIN) 1-B now pending in Congress.

“There are things that have to be done to make any tax amnesty, if there is one, effective,” Dominguez said, noting that the repeal of the long-standing bank secrecy policies is necessary to boost taxpayers’ compliance.

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