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What’s in the Philippines’ Tax Reform Bill? (May 2017)

The country’s proposed tax reform package, initiated by the Department of Finance (DOF) under the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, is now advancing in the House of Representatives.

On May 3, the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee approved the first batch of tax reforms proposed by the DOF with a vote of 17-4-3 (meaning 17 congressmen approved; 4 disapproved; and 3 abstained).

The next step now is for the tax reform bill to taken up for 2nd reading at the House plenary. It’s still a long way to go, though, since this bill must be approved by the entire House and then passed to the Senate before it eventually becomes a law.

What’s included in this first batch of tax reform packages?

To make it easily understandable, we simplified the contents of the bill and summarized and showed below highlights of the Tax Reform Package recently approved by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Here are four (4) key highlights of the Department of Finance (DOF)’s Tax Reform Package.

1. Lowering of personal income taxes, except for high income earners

In the proposed tax reform package which will be used until 2019, those earning P250,000 per year and below will be exempted from paying personal income taxes. According to the DOF, this will benefit 83% of taxpayers who supposedly fall under this tax bracket.

Those earning between P250,000 and P400,000 per year will be charged an income tax rate of 20% on the excess over P250,000.

Those earning between P400,000 and P800,000 annually will pay a fixed amount of P30,000 plus 25% of the excess over P400,000.

Those with incomes between P800,000 and P2 million per year will be charged a fixed amount of P30,000 plus 30% on the excess over P800,000.

Those earning between P2 million and P5 million annually will pay a fixed amount of P490,000 plus 32% of the excess over P2 million.

Finally, the increased income tax rate will be felt by those making more than P5 million per year, who will be charged a fixed amount of P1.45 million plus 35% of the excess over P5 million.

Beginning 2020, though, the rates will further fall as seen in the table below summarizing the proposed income tax rates.

Proposed Income Tax Rates – From approval until year 2019

BracketIncome per YearTax Rate
1Below P250,0000%
2P250,000 to P400,00020% of the excess over P250,000
3P400,000 to P800,000P30,000 + 25% of the excess over P400,000
4P800,000 to P2,000,000P130,000 + 30% of the excess over P800,000
5P2,000,000 to P5,000,000P490,000 + 32% of the excess over P2,000,000
6Over P5,000,000P1,450,000 + 35% of the excess over P5,000,000

Proposed Income Tax Rates – Year 2020 onwards

BracketIncome per YearTax Rate
1Below P250,0000%
2P250,000 to P400,00015% of the excess over P250,000
3P400,000 to P800,000P22,500 + 20% of the excess over P400,000
4P800,000 to P2,000,000P102,500 + 25% of the excess over P800,000
5P2,000,000 to P5,000,000P402,000 + 30% of the excess over P2,000,000
6Over P5,000,000P1,302,500 + 35% of the excess over P5,000,000

2. Higher taxes on diesel, petroleum, and other oil products

As a consequence of lower income tax rates, the revenues collected by the government will surely be severely affected. This is why the DOF is proposing that taxes be recovered from other sources instead.

These other sources include diesel, oil, and other petroleum products which will be slapped a so-called “highly progressive tax” which supposedly shifts the tax to higher-income segments of the population.

According to the DOF, the justification is that the top 10%, or around two million households, consume more than half of the fuel in the Philippines. The same study said that the top 1% of Filipino families consume 13% of fuel.

Currently, there is no excise tax on diesel and, based on the proposal, the tax on diesel will increase to P3 per liter in 2018, then to P5.00 on Jan. 1, 2019, and to P6.00 on Jan. 1, 2020.

In addition, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and bunker oil will be imposed the same excise tax of P3 per liter in 2018; P5.00 in 2019; P6.00 in 2020.

Other petroleum products such as gasoline, lubricating oils, and greases will also be charged additional tax of P8.00 per liter or kilogram in 2018; P9.00 in 2019; and P10.00 in 2020.

Excise Taxes on Diesel, Petroleum, and other Oil Products

Fuel ProductsCurrent Tax201820192020
DieselNoneP3.00 per literP5.00 per literP6.00 per liter
LPG, Kerosene, bunker oilP3.50 to P5.35 per liter or kgAdditional P3.00 per liter or kgAdditional P5.00 per liter or kgAdditional P6.00 per liter or kg
Gasoline, lubricating oils, and greasesP3.50 to P5.35Additional P8.00 per liter or kgAdditional P9.00 per liter or kgAdditional P10.00 per liter or kg

3. Removing VAT Exemptions

The DOF also proposes to remove certain exemptions on the 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) in order to generate more revenues.

At present, the following entities are exempted from paying VAT but will start to pay the tax once the bill is approved:

  • cooperatives, except those selling raw agricultural produce
  • lease of residential units
  • low-cost and socialized housing
  • power transmission
  • domestic shipping importation
  • boy scouts and girl scouts
  • VAT exemptions found in special laws, except those covering senior citizens and people with disability

The threshold for VAT exemptions was increased to P5 million and indexed to inflation every three years.

For self-employed and professionals within the VAT threshold of P5 million, the substitute bill will require them to pay an 8% tax on gross sales or receipts in lieu of the income and percentage taxes.

The tax for those above the VAT threshold will be based on the 30% corporate income tax rate with minimum tax.

4. New Excise Taxes on Cars and Automobiles

Cars and automobiles are already presently charged excise taxes but will be charged additional taxes upon the approval of the tax reform bill.

Compared to the original tax proposal, the approved version in May 2017 includes a fifth price segment, above P3.1 million, which was absent in the earlier proposals.

The excise tax will be dependent on the importer’s or manufacturer’s net selling price of the car and this will therefore increase the final selling prices of automobiles in the country.

The new excise taxes for automobiles are as follows.

Excise Tax on Cars and Automobiles

Automobile's Net Selling Price20182019
Below P600,0003%4%
P600,000 to P1.1 millionP18,000 + 30% in excess of P600,000P24,000 + 40% in excess of P600,000
P1.1 million to P2.1 millionP168,000 + 50% in excess of P1.1 MillionP224,000 + 60% in excess of P1.1 Million
P2.1 million to P3.1 millionP668,000 + 80% in excess of P2.1 MillionP824,000 + 100% in excess of P2.1 Million
Above P3.1 millionP1.468 million + 90% in excess of P3.1 MillionP1.824 million + 120% in excess of 2.1 Million

Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler, GMA News, ABS-CBN News

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3 thoughts on “What’s in the Philippines’ Tax Reform Bill? (May 2017)”

  1. bancreateam says:

    thanks for this valuable info

  2. larie says:

    looking at it, parang walang epekto ang tax reform bill sa income ko bagkus tumaas ang bilihin sa lahat..

  3. Icon Donaire says:

    This will indeed help the Filipino workers. I think this year is the best time to buy a car before this law be implemented..hehe

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