Government can afford to suspend fuel excise tax — lawmaker

From Philippine STAR (Words by JESS DIAZ)

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Rep. Mikee L. Romero
Rep. Mikee Romero inside Plenary Hall during a regular session

Rep. Michael Romero of 1-Pacman, one of the authors of the amnesty bill, said the proposed amnesty grant is among President Duterte’s legislative priorities.

“It aims to give delinquent taxpayers the opportunity to have a clean slate by paying an amnesty tax and to be fully compliant on their tax obligations moving forward,” he said.

He said based on previous amnesty grants, the government could generate tens of billions of pesos from the planned new reprieve.

“It’s a one-time grant that we hope taxpayers with delinquencies would avail themselves of,” he added.

Romero pointed out that “even if just half or one-fourth of the revenue target is collected, it would be a big boost to government resources that could fund vital services.”

He said he expects many families that have inherited properties to take advantage of the amnesty offer since the estate tax has been cut from as high as 20 percent to just six percent under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Aside from the reduced tax, the law increased the standard deduction from P1 million to P5 million and exempts a family home worth up to P10 million (the previous limit was P1 million) from the estate levy, he stressed.

The proposed amnesty would cover 2017 and prior years. An applicant would be required to file with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) an amnesty return accompanied by a notarized statement of total assets as of Dec. 31, 2017. The applicant would pay an amnesty tax of two percent of such assets. On estate tax liabilities, the amnesty levy is six percent.

Romero said he expects the planned new amnesty offer to be in place in time for the first quarter tax-filing period.