Finance dept readies more tax reform packages

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2018 03:32 PM

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez is shown in this handout photo. Department of Finance

MANILA - The Department of Finance aims to submit within the year, proposals for at least 3 more tax reform packages after the first tranche took effect as law at the start of the year, Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Monday.

Dominguez said tax reform would generate P786 billion to help fund President Rodrigo Duterte's ambitious infrastructure program.

The first package raises duties on fuel, cars and sugar-sweetened drinks to help offset a reduction in personal income tax rates. The second package seeks to lower corporate income taxes and modernize fiscal incentives.

Packages 2, 3 and 4 to Congress within the year to help the government keep the deficit at 3 percent of gross domestic product, he said.

Dominguez said he hoped to pass early this year the second part of package 1, which seeks estate tax and general tax amnesties, the indexation of motor vehicle user tax to inflation and a relaxation in bank secrecy laws to help in the battle against tax fraud.

Finance undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government could generate some P26 billion with the tax amnesty.

Dominguez said the government would study the filing of a fifth package, since some of its features were included in the first package.

"The other packages are not really designed to make more revenues, but to make the system more fair," he said.

Duterte has promised to usher in a "golden age of infrastructure" by raising annual spending on it to 7 percent of gross domestic product from less than 3 percent before he came to power more than 18 months ago.

Dominguez said he expects the inflationary impact of the tax reform measure to be minimal at 0.7 percent. The government has a 2-4 percent inflation target this year. -- with Reuters