‘Soft drinks tax’ eyed to offset income tax cut

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2016 01:13 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2016 03:04 PM

MANILA – (UPDATE) The government is considering imposing taxes on soft drinks as part of a comprehensive reform program that also seeks to lower income taxes, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Thursday.

An increase in excise taxes on fuel was also under study, Diokno told ABS-CBN News, adding President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team would present the complete tax reform package in September.

The Philippines charges a maximum 32-percent personal income tax, one of the highest in Southeast Asia. His economic managers said this could be brought down to 25 percent.

“It will be comprehensive, I’m telling you,” Diokno said of Duterte’s tax reform strategy.

“We will adjust the personal income tax, but we will have the tax on soft drinks and also excise tax on petroleum products,” he told a meeting of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines on Wednesday.

Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier proposed imposing taxes on junk food to boost revenue.

Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, raised excise taxes on liquor and tobacco. Former President Gloria Arroyo earlier raised the value added tax rate to 12 percent from 10 percent.