MANILA - The head of the Senate committee that is hearing the government's tax reform proposal said the chamber's version could raise up to P159.5 billion after he introduced amendments.
The projected revenues nearly tripled from the previous P59.9 billion estimate after the value added tax base was expanded while some special VAT laws will be repealed, said Senator Sonny Angara.
“We were able to meet the revenue target using the more comprehensive and accurate data that the DOF has provided the committee after the filing of the committee report,” said Angara, chairman of the ways and means committee.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in July that government could not afford projected revenues below P130 billion.
The first package of President Rodrigo Duterte's tax reform push seeks higher taxes on fuel, cars and sugar-sweetened drinks among others to offset a reduction in personal income tax rates.
The Senate needs to pass its version of tax reform and reconcile it with the House of Representatives' version before the President can sign it into law.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said earlier Wednesday he hoped tax reform could be signed by the President by December, alongside the 2018 national budget.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday he would seek to revert the VAT rate to 10 percent from 12 percent.
Incremental revenue from tax reform will still rise even if the VAT rate is lowered as some exemptions will be lifted, he said.
Lacson expects P117 billion in additional revenue with his proposed amendments.